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Dr V S Godbole England
Publisher Dr Vijay Bedekar Itihas Patrika Prakashan Dr Bedekar hospital Shivashakti Maharshi karve Marg Thane 400,602 Hindusthan (India) © Mrs Vinita Vasudev Godbole Second Edition – March 2007 First Edition -- April 1986
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Preface Twenty years have passed since the first edition of this book was published in 1986. The manuscript of the book was ready in 1980, but the publication was held up for lack of funds. In the same year, two letters challenging the prevalent Taj Legend were published in the Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects. One by Prof P N Oak and the other one by me. No one has yet invalidated our arguments. In 1981, I visited the Taj Mahal along with three friends. After spending two days, we realised that we had not finished our tour. It was then that we knew how much there was to see. I also visited various alleged monuments in Delhi and gained a new perspective. Between 1981 and 1996 I compiled all the pieces of evidence on the Taj Mahal from 1784 to 1984 and was surprised to note that they all led to the same conclusion that it was not built by Shahjahan but was an ancient Hindu structure. Moreover, they revealed that the British scholars and archaeologists knew the truth about the Taj Mahal all along, but had suppressed the truth for political reasons. In April 1996, my findings were published in a book entitled, Taj Mahal and the Great British Conspiracy. On 6 February 1983, John Keay presented Part 5 of his series "India - a cacophony of cultures” on BBC Radio 3. He started and finished the programme by referring to my letter to him. He interviewed our opponents, but not Mr Oak or me. He almost equated our research work to the burning of books by the Nazis. This just shows how, even today, prejudices run deep in the field of historical research. Truth is many times inconvenient, unpalatable, unpleasant and uncomfortable, not only for the foreign rulers and dictators, but also for ministers of democratically elected governments. They therefore twist or suppress it and present history to suit their ideology. Even in a democracy, many official files are kept secret for 30 to 100 years. Official Secrets Acts often unreasonably ensure secrecy. The intention being that when the files are open to public, it would be too late to have any impact. Sometimes there are unwritten ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ ensuring the suppression of truth. The American Press, for example, did not publish the love affairs of J F Kennedy when he was the U S President in the 1960s. In Britain, there used to be a ‘D’ notice 3
convention. Editors of British Newspapers would be told the truth on the understanding that they would not print the story. But eventually truth emerges. The same has happened in the case of the Taj Mahal. The British rulers in India had a deep interest in the falsification of Indian History. After the British left, the Congress Party had been taught by Gandhi and Nehru to almost invariably capitulate to the demands of Indian Muslims. This practise persists today. During the last 25 years I have presented many slide shows on theTaj Mahal and answered our critics. I have dealt with British historians and scholars and hence know their attitudes very well. I have also been producing newsletters almost every four months outlining how Indian history has been twisted and falsified. In light of all the above developments, I am proud to present to the readers this revised edition of my 1986 book Taj Mahal : Analysis of a Just like Prof P N Oak, the late Prof Bhatnagar too started having his doubts about so-called Islamic monuments in India, when in 1961 he visited the Kutb Minar, as the tower is commonly known. It kindled his interest in Indian History and Geography. In 1975, He started to put forward his research findings under the heading ‘Stones speak’. His friends advised him to keep quiet, but he refused. Unfortunately, after publishing three booklets, he died. He wrote, “History deals with facts, which do not cease to exist merely because a section of die-hards is out to deny them. Those who feel uncomfortable with facts going against their settled views may shut their eyes, if they like, to the light of truth revealed by research. People who decline to digest the outcome of research are responsible for groping in the dark and for perpetuating falsehood. If facts, having remained unnoticed for a long time, come to light, scholars welcome them, study them, weigh them and prepare themselves to accept them only if they find them correct. Study of History ought to be unbiased and a student should, therefore, shake off his/her prejudices. One is free to pass one’s judgement but only after giving a patient hearing. ” Prejudiced judges 4
We have seen how prejudiced are reporters, like John Keay, who work for the BBC. One must not think for a moment that it is just persons like him who are prejudiced. Even the learned Judges are not immune from it. Mr G D Khosla, former Chief Justice of Punjab High Court, wrote in 1963: “I have made it a rule never to make a deep study of any case before the actual hearing begins. I usually read the judgment appealed against to acquaint myself of the salient facts and get an overall impression of the matter I have to deal with. I have always been of the view that too close a pre-study of the evidence and a mastery of the details involved hinder a fair and impartial hearing, because, away from the open atmosphere of the court and without the points of view of the two parties before it, the mind is apt to interpret the whole case in the light of its personal prepossessions. This builds up an unconscious resistance against the arguments of counsel, for though judges are perpetually advertising the remarkable fluidity of truly judicial minds and their capacity for remaining open, till the last word in a cause has been uttered, eminent judges are notoriously obstinate and difficult to dislodge from their beliefs and convictions. I have known judges who come to court even more fully prepared than the lawyers engaged by the parties. I have a suspicion that they do this partly from a sense of their high duty, but also because of their desire to make an exhibition of their industry and erudition. No matter how learned and experienced the judge, if he has made a deep study of a case he will inevitably have formed an opinion regarding its merits before he comes to court. So, he will start with a bias and it will be difficult to displace him from his position, for his subconscious mind will refuse to admit that something important escaped his close study of the case or that a certain piece of evidence was erroneously interpreted. A truly liquid mind is a very rare commodity among high judicial dignitaries.” Ref – The murder of the Mahatma and other cases from a Judge’s Notebook, by G D Khosla, Chatto and Windus, London 1963. pp 214/215 One should remember that there were demands in India that the above book by Khosla should be banned because he told the truth about Nathuram Godse’s performance in the High Court!! Nathuram shot and killed Gandhi on 31 January 1948. That is how deep prejudices run. I therefore urge the reader to set aside whatever she/he has read 5
about Taj Mahal and start reading my book without any preconceptions. Keeping an open mind makes a tremendous impact. Mr Oak publicly expressed his serious doubts about the existing Taj legend and proposed in 1965 that Taj Mahal was a Rajput Palace. In the year 1967, he came across a strong opponent who was a Kashmiri Pandit and an expert in Persian language, employed by Government of India. He used to argue that there was documentary evidence to prove that Shahjahan did build the Taj Mahal. Mr Oak challenged him to prove it. They went together to the Government of India Archives in New Delhi. The Director told them, “The only document that exists is Badshahnama.” The Persian expert started reading pages 402/403. He came across line 29 on page 403 which reads, “ Wa Pesh az ein Manzil-e-Rajah Mansingh bood wadari waqt ba Raja Jaisingh ” This was a clear cut confession that Shahjahan grabbed Raja Mansingh’s Palace for burial of his wife Mumtaz. Within two minutes the Persian expert confessed that he was wrong. Unfortunately he wished to remain anonymous. He gave Mr Oak, word by word translation (from Persian into English) of Volume I pages 402/403. Mr Oak promptly included it in his book in 1968. We all should be ever so grateful for the honesty of that Kashmiri Pandit. I hope therefore that you will read my book with an open mind. After reading this book and visiting the Taj Mahal (if possible) you will realise how people are still being duped by the false propaganda that Shahjahan built it as a monument of his love for his wife Mumtaz. I appreciate that it is not easy to clear from one’s mind the Taj legend which has been prevalent for 150 to 200 years, but please be patient. Read the book a couple of times to grasp the details. The style of my presentation is different from that normally adopted for historical research. It is a dialogue between two persons. One is asking questions (in Italics) and the other is replying (in ordinary font). I hope you wil find it easy to follow. V S Godbole 14 Turnberry Walk 6 19 March 2007 (Gudhi Padwa)
Bedford MK41. 7 . 8AZ U.K.
etc. those contained valuable information. I decided to seek answers to my questions myself and find out if Prof. A 14-page paper finally emerged in April 1980 and was appreciated by many. my curiosity arose and my comments on the book ran into 44 pages. and asked two friends to translate pages 402/403 (of Vol I) for me. I went through other references quoted by our opponents (traditionalists). East India Company Records. Nobody states that the ASI officials have been sitting in Taj Mahal for more than a century but have never done an archaeological survey of Taj Mahal.A. Mandelslo. I even obtained a copy of the Badshahnama from the School of Oriental and African Studies. I was convinced that Prof. For instance.. As time passed by. London. As I read it. many authors have referred to Latif's book of 1896 but not one of them has quoted the vital sentence from it. Taj Mahal is a Hindu Temple Palace and not a mausoleum. including some Professors of Architecture in the U. By sheer chance I purchased Prof.Preface to first edition My involvement in the construction of jackets for the North Sea oilfields (in Scotland) made me aware that I have the talent and capacity to analyse even the most unfamiliar and complex tasks. Oak's book "Taj Mahal is a Hindu Temple Palace”. 8 .. Oak was 101 per cent right. My next task was the presentation of facts in a systematic and cohesive manner as gathered from various sources. One by one I went through all the references but always refused to be drawn in any arguments prematurely. in October 1979.g. the question and answer form was chosen so that any reasonable person would follow the line of questioning and understand the issues. Travels of J.N. when I read Stella Kramrisch's book The Hindu Temple. P. which our opponents have persistently ignored.K. After a great deal of thought. They all confirmed my conclusion. ” Some refer to the 1871-72 Report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) but do not explain why the plans and sections of Taj Mahal obtained by General Cunningham were never made public. Finally.. London.” the site chosen for the mausoleum was late Raja Mansingh's Palace. from the bookshop of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Oak's conclusion was logical.. To my surprise. I tried to answer many questions commonly asked and went through more references e. Later on.
What applies to Taj Mahal and history of Indian architecture also applies to social. One civil engineer working for Pune (Poona) Municipal Corporation wrote. I only request them to be patient. which they put forward. London. More evidence has come to light. During my discussions with some of our opponents. I sincerely hope that reading my book would go a long way towards regaining this ability.” An Indian architect. which is vital for our survival and prosperity. London.K. and find out solutions to our problems ourselves instead of looking to the Americans. 9 . I would gladly answer any genuine questions and welcome constructive criticism. "Why do you need any foundation for a structure like Taj Mahal at all? You start building and it just comes up. The public library system in the U. analyse the facts. economic. They only need to be a bit wider but that is all. Mohini Chidgupkar for her typing. My research is my own. but would do so in the next edition. I am extremely grateful to Mrs. has no foundation at all! ” To what depths would our opponents sink? Such mental bankruptcy is the result of learning our own falsified history for far too long. It is simply the result of incessant quest for truth. which I have not been able to incorporate in this edition. were especially helpful. is most commendable. educational and all other fields of our life. who believe in the current Taj Legend. who is a member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and lives in Kent said. the Chinese and anyone else (except ourselves) for guidance. Some readers may find it necessary to read it a few times before they grasp the basic facts. Foundation of the famous St Paul's Cathedral in London is only 4 ft deep.This is not a scholarly attitude. political. St Paul’s Cathedral. "It is a common misconception that buildings like the Taj Mahal need fairly deep foundations. the Russians. I have not been guided by any one. We have lost our ability to think clearly. I was stunned by the arguments. Historians must not behave like paid agents and write histories as if they were party political broadcasts on behalf of the Mughals or anyone else. Finally. The staff of the Hammersmith Public Library.
I also thank Dr. April 1986 10 . V. Institute for Oriental Study. 8AZ U.K. Thane (INDIA) for undertaking the publication of this bock. V S GODBOLE 54 Sudeley Walk Bedford MK41. Bedekar.V. Director.
INDEX Subject Basis of Taj Legend. Raja Mansingh’s Palace is Taj Mahal Disappearance of Gold explained in Badshahnama. Limitations of 17th century travellers Re-examination of Travellers’ accounts. Vandalism by Shahjahan How was style of Architecture determined by Fergusson? Mysteries galore and explained. Conclusion – need to Rewrite Indian History. How the Taj legend grew. Why did Shahjahan come to Agra? Agra City before Shahjahan came to power in 1628. Ground plan of Taj Mahal. Badshahnama – official chronicle of Shahjahan. The hidden basements/ rooms No survey of Taj Mahal by ASI What did Archaeological Survey of India do? Bogus tombs Planning and layout of Taj Mahal is as per Hindu Architecture. Bibliography Appendix A .Travellers' Accounts Appendix B – Voyages of Tavernier Pages 12-37 37-40 40-43 43-4950 -60 60-61 61-63 63-64 64-72 72-75 75-77 78-85 86-94 94-98 98-100 101-102 102-103 103-104 105-119 119-121 122-126 127-130 131 11 . Leaking Taj Mahal in 1652.
“. where there are three or four niches.You enter into this square by a large gate and at first you see.Of all the tombs which one sees at Agra. that of the wife of SHAH JAHAN is the most splendid.. Arjumand was the daughter of Asaf Khan. Born in 1592. as on the walls of many towns in EUROPE . is at the east end of the town by side of the river in a great square surrounded by walls. Let us ask some straightforward questions and seek the truth.. After his death the Emperor was buried by her side. translated from original French and edited by Dr V Ball was published by Macmillan & Co. Let us therefore examine them in detail..The tomb of this Begum. in 1889 the 10th English edition. There is a dome above. Dr Ball gives us the details of all the five voyages to India of Tavernier. the middle being of brick. she married Shah Jahan in 1612 and died in Burhanpur in 1631 after the birth of her fourteenth child. The book was first published in French in 1675.000 men worked for 22 years on the construction of the Taj Mahal. Between 1677 and 1811 there have been nine editions of English translation of the same (there were 22 editions of the French book during the same period). Where do these figures come from? They come from the book Travels in India by J B Tavernier. where the Moufti comes at fixed times to pray.000 men worked on it incessantly for 22 years. on the left hand a beautiful gallery..” 20... or sultan queen.. Under this dome there is 12 . who made five voyages to India in the 17th century (between 1638 to 1668). It is covered within and without with white marble.. a French jewel merchant. “Ornament of the Palace. TAVERNIER For the last 170 years we have been told that 20. which faces in the direction of MECCA. which is scarcely less magnificent than that of VAL DE GRACE AT PARIS.Basis of the Taj Legend The Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan (1627-1658) as the tomb for his wife Arjumand better known as Mumtaz Mahal. This Taj legend has arisen mainly out of 17th century contemporary travellers’ accounts. ………. London.. upon which there is a small gallery. Afterwards.. Tavernier says.
. returned to France in 1633. ……. but the war which he had with his sons. and AURANGZEB. I witnessed the commencement and accomplishment of this great work. But then they should say that Tavernier DID NOT see the commencement of the building of Taj. All the historians.e. immediately after the death of the lady. on which they expended 22 years. “Tavernier commenced his first voyage at the end of 1631 and after travelling from Constantinople to Isphan in Persia. 7th edition rewritten and brought up to date by E A Duncan 1909. Do the historians accept this date? No. this is sufficient to enable one to realise that the cost of it has been enormous. with the exception of H G Keene.an empty tomb. pp 109/111] Does he say when the construction had started and when it was finished? NO. for the Begum is interred under a vault which is beneath the first platform. Do they say that? No. In 1909 Keene had the honesty to say. They say it started 9 years earlier. p154) 13 .000 men worked incessantly.” (Handbook for visitors to Agra by H G Keene. i. but may have heard of it at Isphan. are silent on this point. when did he first come to Agra? Dr Ball tells us that Tavernier first came to Agra in the winter of 164041. 1889 Book I. interrupted his plan. That means that the construction of Taj Mahal started in the winter of 1640-41. during which 20. So. He did not therefore see the commencement of the Taj. chapter VIII. …… SHAH JAHAN began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river. who reigns at present is not disposed to complete it ” [Ref – Travels in India by J B Tavernier.
(Ball. Volume I p110) appears to be conclusive as to the time occupied in the building……. Why? Dr Ball tells us that Tavernier was in Agra for the second time in November 1665. … Tavernier visited Agra several times. how do they reconcile the facts? They twist them. But. “. The lady died on 7th July 1631 at Burhanpur in the Deccan. So. Precisely. Tavernier did not see the commencement of the Taj. Let us take some examples * It is very strange that Dr Ball having provided extensive footnotes and having given details of all voyages of Tavernier.O. He may well have been at Agra in that year.K. …This testimony of an eyewitness (Ball’s Tavernier. everyone knew the dates and details of Tavernier’s voyages to India. ” 14 . * In 1893 Vincent Smith says. After 1889. Shahjahan died in captivity in 1666. should keep quiet about Tavernier’s visits to Agra and that he could not have seen the commencement and completion of Taj Mahal.” “Tavernier’s evidence is clear and positive.. then by their own reckoning Tavernier could not have seen the completion of Taj because he did not arrive in Agra till 12 years later. But. Do the historians say that the Taj was completed in 1665 or that Aurangzeb completed it? No. He quitted India in January 1654. Shajahan was dethroned and imprisoned in Agra Red Fort by his son Aurangzeb since June 1658. Therefore there is no excuse. twenty-two years after the death of the Empress. They insist that it was Shahjahan who completed the Taj by 1653. did he see the completion? No. Volume I pp 142 & 149) and he was in India in A D 1653. So.
” (pp 412/413) * In 1915. E B Havell. when the Taj was under construction and a replica on the other side of the river could not have been begun. “ Master-builders came from many different parts. “Tavernier says twenty-two years probably including all the necessary buildings. “ He (Tavernier) was in India on his second voyage to the East in 1640-41. which took seventeen years to complete. “ … The testimony of Tavernier is doubtless correct if understood as referring to the whole complex of buildings connected with the mausoleum. Work on the Taj began in 1632 and so appears to have been completed about the close of 1653. Vincent Smith produced 2nd edited version of Sleeman’s Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official. He was again at Agra in August-September 1665. returning to the country in 1659.” Tavernier came to Agra in 1640/41 and in 1665.” In a footnote he says. Prof Ram Nath gives some interesting information on page 52. Volume I pp 380 to 384) [Smith is deliberately playing mischief between Tavernier’s visits to India and his visits to Agra] * In 1904. ” (Agra and Taj. in his book History of Fine Arts in India and Ceylon. He visited Agra several times. 1893. MARG magazine of Bombay issued a special issue in June on Taj Mahal. says. Calcutta. ” * In 1971. but…. Vincent Smith writes. He left India in January 1654. Under Bibliography he says on p255. Though the usual legend is repeated. twenty thousand men were employed in the construction. a dream in Marble. He says.. who wrote The Great Moghuls does give some correct information about Tavernier. edited by Vincent Smith. “Tavernier was a French jewel merchant who made no fewer 15 . page 74) * Again. …. Principal of Government School of Arts. Bamber Gascoigne. entitled Taj Mahal. “ … We know however from Tavernier who witnessed both the commencement and completion of the buildings that operations did not cease finally until 1653 nearly 22 years after they had begun.(Sleeman’s Rambles and recollections of an Indian official. * In 1969. in 1911. He still says on page 316.
India.. from the above details. His destination was usually the Deccan. Festival of India was held in London (April –September). * In 1981. and by 1648 the Taj itself was quite finished. Tavernier could not have seen the commencement or completion of Taj Mahal. 7th reprint of The Taj Mahal by David Carroll was published by NEWSWEEK of New York. It is like a lamb leading a lamb! “Tavernier.. They merely refer to Bamber Gascoigne but hide from readers. Here are a few examples * In 1972. we just go round and round in circles. But he was at Agra in 1640 when Shah Jahan was there. School teachers were given a booklet entitled. John Keay published his otherwise excellent book – India Discovered. Prof Ram Nath of Agra University. published his book .. page 94.. 16 Agra and its Monumental glory.” In the selected bibliography we find – Great Mughals by Bamber Gascoigne. What happened after 1971? Do writers take note of when Tavernier visited Agra? No. when Tavernier visited Agra and. ” If Gascoigne had done some thinking he would have realised that. ” And how does Vincent Smith come to reckon the year of completion to be 1653? On the basis of Tavernier’s excellent testimony!! So. * In 1982. (Vincent Smith. History of Fine Arts in India 1912 pp 160-61. In the selected bibliography he refers to Bamber Gascoigne. famous for the diamond mines at Golconda. he says. But he does not do that. In April. In Appendix E.. “Be Prepared. * In 1977. In condensed bibliography we find Bamber Gascoigne. the French jeweller. though work continued on the subsidiary buildings until 1653. He confirms. He says on page 184.than five separate journeys from Europe into India between 1638 and 1668. because he wants to maintain the legend. was in Agra during 1640-41 on his second voyage to the East and again in August-September 1665 on his sixth and the last voyage. June 1969 issue of MARG p 52 ). and he sold many jewels to Aurangzeb in Delhi in 1665. “by 1643 the structure was sufficiently complete for the annual memorial service for Mumtaz Mahal to be held there for the first time.
as Vincent Smith suggests. translated by Lt Col C E Luard and Father H Hosten 1927. ’ Prof Nath conveniently forgets that by the same confession. What were they doing? 17 .Travels of Frey Sebastian Manrique.000 men to support his argument.000 men were working incessantly? ’ No. Paris .Paris (autumn 1655).‘ twenty-thousand men worked incessantly. Where was Tavernier during his fourth voyage in 1651 to 1655? He left Paris in June 1651 and travelled by the following route. [Ref .Aleppo (in Syria. a Portuguese missionary was in Agra between 24th December 1640 and 20th January 1641. pp 171/174 ] Does he say ‘ Construction of Taj Mahal has started?’ No.Golconda (1 April 1653) . Vol ii.Goa .Surat (November 1652) . Tavernier could not have seen the commencement or completion of Taj Mahal! But he simply wants to use the figure of 20. By no stretch of imagination could he have been in Agra in 1653.Bandar Abbas – Ispahan (Iran) .000 men were working. Does he say ‘ 20.Marseilles -Alexandretta . 2 July 1652) .Ahmedabad . 7 Oct 1651) .Madras . Was there any other contemporary traveller? MANRIQUE Yes.Surat . Then what does he say? He says only 1.Golconda . Fray Sebastian Manrique.Gandikot (13 August 1652) .Bandar Abbas (a port in southern Iran) -Masulipattam (East coast of India.Surat Aurangabad ..
Keene kept quiet about the discrepancy even after 1889 when 18 . no stone dressers. But. ” Is that all? Yes. “.He says. and All Souls College one of that of 1653. Many were occupied in laying out ingenious gardens. He does say that Manrique was in Agra in 1640 and that he saw only 1. DISCREPANCY IN ACCOUNTS Manrique says ‘1.000 men working.000 men were working ’ and Tavernier says ‘ 20.’ There is quite a discrepancy between their accounts. others planting shady groves and ornamental avenues. but they hid the discrepancy from the readers. When was ‘Manrique’s Travels’ available in English? In 1927. no stonecutters. Here are some examples * In 1879 H G Keene gives some information from Manrique’s Travels in his book ‘Turks in India’. The British Museum and the Bodleian Institute (Oxford) have copies of the 1649 edition. without which their labour could not be carried out. no bricklayers. Some Historians were aware of the discrepancy well before 1927.000 men worked incessantly. When was Manrique’s book originally published? Manrique’s Travels were first published in Spanish in 1649.. while the rest were making roads and those receptacles for crystal water. No masons. no one mixing mortar? No. there was a second edition in 1653. Could it be that as a result of this book in Spanish not being commonly available we had to wait till the English translation was available in 1927? Not quite. Copies of his book are not common.
But he was simply interested to argue that Shahjahan invited all eminent architects.000 in 1640. He was on his leave in England in 1889. According to Manrique. Yet.840 per year).Taj and its Environments. . 1911 pp 412-419). Vincent Smith was an officer in the Indian Civil Service. Manrique travelled in the Far East and India for 12 years (1629-1641). This is when he helped Dr V Ball with translation of Tavernier’s book in French and annotation thereof.] * In 1914.000 men worked incessantly.” This is preposterous.000) rests on Tavernier’s excellent authority. * Vincent Smith who helped Dr V Ball to annotate the 1889 edition of Tavernier’s Travels. Tavernier says 20. pp16-19) Travels of Fray Sebastian Manrique (1629-1643) was translated by Lt Col C E Luard and Father H Hosten in 1927. Ball and Smith came from Dublin. the staff of workmen numbered only 1. In 1910.. Maulavi M Ahmad was aware of Manrique’s account. starting salary for new entrants was Rupees 4. 1924. M Ahmad tells us quite correctly that Manrique was in Agra from 24 December 1640 to January 1641.details of Tavernier’s voyages were known by English readers.. No doubt the numbers varied much from time to time ‘ (History of Fine Arts in India and Ceylon by Vincent Smith. and that Muhammad Isa Afandi was the Architect of Taj Mahal.800 per month (£3.. ‘ . a career civil service in India for young Britons. but says nothing about the discrepancy. Sir R C Temple does refer to Manrique’s book when compiling Peter Mundy’s Travels.. Manrique. What do they say about the discrepancy? Col Luard says. “ Manrique’s figure is certainly a rough one. [Note – ICS Indian Civil Service.The number (20. Luard is saying that Manrique wrote his 19 . however is writing long after and without notes and again his visit seems to have been but cursory. The recruits came predominantly from Oxford and Cambridge. (Ref . In 1911 Smith says.. also hides the fact that both Tavernier and Manrique were in Agra in 1640. * In 1924. Both.
ICS Year 1813 1844 1850 1862 1874 1875 1887 1893 1904 1911 Title of book Memoir of War in India Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official Wandering of a pilgrim in the search of the picturesque… History of India Handbook to Agra* Encyclopaedia Britannica 9th edition Les Civilisations de L’Inde * Travels in India. It is also interesting to note that Manrique’s Travels was first published in 1649. At a glance let us see who had repeated the story. Agra and Taj * History of Fine Arts in India and Ceylon 20 . how do the historians explain the discrepancy. Author Major Thorn Lt Col Sleeman Fanny Parks Henry Beveridge (Advocate) H G Keene. Why should they do that? Because they wanted to perpetuate the myth. Moreover. when both Tavernier and Manrique were in Agra at the same time having travelled by the same road from Dacca? They simply pay no attention to it. some 28 years later. Luard suggests that Manrique’s visit was cursory because his figure of 1.000 men working for 22 years have been repeated so often that people just can’t accept the fact that this is a mere fantasy. however.account of stay in Agra long time afterwards and he had made no notes. a Hundred years ago. After 1927. while Tavernier’s Travels in 1675.000 men. ICS -----------Le Bon Gustave Thomas Twining (Governor of Bihar) E B Havell V A Smith. The trouble is that the figures of 20.000 men does not tally with Tavernier’s 20.
Travels of Peter Mundy Tavernier’s Travels in India The Peacock Throne 21 .The Voyages and Travels of J Albert Mandelslo. He tells us of king’s ministers and their duties.e. artillery. elephants. brass. artillery. i. gives details of cavalry. tigers and leopards arranged by Shahjahan. He describes the Mughal treasure. 1662. brocades. by Olearius Adam. elephants and other valuables. J A De MANDELSLO Did any visitor go to Agra before 1640? Yes. 1973.Lt Col Luard & 1927 Travels of Fray Sebastian Father H Hosten Manrique * These three authors say that time of construction was 17 years. Ball and Crooke. guards and other military items. horses. But no Taj Mahal? That’s right! Don’t the historians refer to Mandelslo? Some do. copper. a German was in Agra in October/ November 1638. 1914. ready money. He even describes the fights of lions.] What does he say about the construction of Taj Mahal? Absolutely nothing. [Ref :. however. J A de Mandelslo. but try to justify 22 years by saying that it took 22 years for total completion. Walderman Hansen. emeralds. 1925. bulls. books. statues of gold. diamonds. He also describes celebrations of Nauros and king’s birthday. but keep quiet about that fact that he says nothing about Taj Mahal. These include – Sir R C temple. He. rubies. London. describes Red Fort of Agra in detail.
E. (2 months) [ Ref – The Travels of P Mundy. 1914] When did Shahjahan’s wife die? She died on 17th Zi-il-quada 1040 A. Cornwall (South West England).from 16 January 1632 to 6 August 1632 and (6 1/2 months in 1632) .from 27 January 1632 to 17 August 1632 and (6 1/2 months in 1632) . Volume II Travels in Asia. The news of her death must have come as a great shock to the people of Agra. edited by Lt Col Sir R C Temple. (2 months) But these are dates according to the Julian calendar. As The Gregorian Calendar is now followed. Historians say she was buried at Burhanpur. He does say – “(her body was) brought from Burhanpur where she dyed accompanying him (Shahjahan) in his 22 . the dates will be .from 2 January 1633 to 8 March 1633. a merchant of the (English) East India Company.from 1 January 1631 and 17th December 1631 (nearly the whole of 1631) .H (i.D) at Burhanpur in Central India. What has Mundy recorded about this? He says absolutely nothing! He does not even mention the news of her death! We must remember that he was in Agra for more than six months after the lady’s death. stationed at Agra was there during the following periods -. There must have been public mournings and business activities must have been suspended for weeks.from 12 January 1631 and 28th December 1631 (nearly the whole of 1631) .I.PETER MUNDY Did any other traveller go to Agra before 1638? Yes.e. 7th June 1631 A.from 22 December 1632 to 25 February 1633. some 500 miles south of Agra. C. Peter Mundy from Penryn.
It says. He says. …. “Zainabad is the name of a town near the bank of the (river) Tapti opposite Burhanpur ” We will explain later the reason for this peculiar burial. the king went to the garden. Why should the body of the lady be buried in such an awkward location? She could have easily been buried on the bank of the river. 25 Dhu'l-Qa'da 1040 (15 June 1631) to be exact.H that is 8 January 1632 A. “The body of Mumtaz-Mahal was given a temporary burial in the building situated in the middle of a large tank inside the garden at Zainabad.Taj Museum. the 25th of the month of Zikad. Strange enough.’ and returned after reciting Fatiha prayers etc. In 1912. On Thursday. in the evening of Thursday. Prof Jadunath Sarkar was aware of this situation. When was her coffin brought to Agra? On 15th Jamat-Ul-Sanya 1041 A. where ShahJahan was encamped. on the other side of the river. “The remains. p10. this point was never raised. New Delhi 1982. on the other side of the (river) Tapti. a booklet by Dr Z A Desai and H K Kaul published by the Director General. ‘shed oceans of lustrous gems of tear over that sanctified grave.” Ref .wars. and offered the prayers. in his book Anecdotes of Aurangzeb he says on p46. Shah Jahan crossed the (river) Tapti. opposite to Burhanpur. Archaeological Survey of India gives some very interesting details. Is it correct that after her death. M Ahmad also gave us a hint. were deposited temporarily in the Garden of Zenabad near the Tapti in Burhanpur. ASI .” (Ref .” Burial of Mumtaz. Mumtaz was buried at Burhanpur? Not quite. Well. in accordance with the eastern custom.Taj and its Environments. After about a week or so. 23 . page 4) In 1924.D according to Archaeological Survey of India. went to the place of temporary burial.
Gardens and Bazare.. “ There is already about her Tombe a raile of 24 . When did he come to Agra? 1st Zi-il-Hijja 1041 A. What does Mundy say about Taj Mahal? * (In Agra) places of note (in and about) are the Castle. brought from Burhanpur where she dyed accompanying him in his wars. No. Mundy must have noticed that Shahjahan was a grief stricken man. He says Shahjahan entered Agra with all the pomp and glory. Muslims do not bury the bodies of the dead in coffins.This itself raises an important question. The place appoynted is by the river side where she is buried. Taje Moholl’s tomb.. Shahjahan must have accompanied the coffin of his wife to Agra.. Oh no. Mundy says.... What do the historians say about this? They completely overlook this vital detail ---------------------------------------- Coming back to Mundy’s account.H that is 1 June 1632 A. ” (p212) Mundy continues. We have seen this recently when King Hussein of Jordan (1999) and King Fahad of Saudi Arabia died (2005). After six months the body of Shajahan’s wife would have decomposed and stinking badly. Bodies are wrapped in cloth and lowered in ground... He intends it shall excell all other. .D according to Mundy (This will be 12 June 1632 as per Gregorian calendar). King [Akbar’s] tomb. There was no sign of sorrow for the loss of Mumtaz... “ This Kinge is now buildinge a Sepulchre for his late deceased Queene Tege Moholl. (pages 208/9) How did the tomb whose construction had just started become a ‘Place of note’? Good question..
commanding merchants. prosecuted with extraordinary diligence. shops etc dwellings. therefore. First. August. Artificers to inhabit where they begin to repaire and called by her name Tage Gange. “The building is begun and goes on with excessive labour etc. Does it not get flooded in June. the construction of Taj Mahal must have started after October 1632. the shower that fell so opportunely. as some think. the melting of snow in the Himalayas then the monsoon causes floods. August and September? Yes. But it would be fairly reasonable to assume that the construction started sometime after Shahjahan arrived in Agra i.” (pp213/4) Does he say on what date he saw this? No. The building is begun and goes on with excessive labour and cost.” Flood defence works must have been the first priority. ” (Travels in the Mogul Empire by F Bernier. “Happily for Sultan Sujah. The ground is so soft that hard stratum is not encountered even at 700 to 800 ft. He intends. causing hills to be made level because they might not hinder the prospect of it. shopkeepers. Mundy was in Agra from 2 January 1633 to 8 March 1633. Taj Mahal is situated on the bank of river Yamuna (Jumna). massive. July. If. 25 . The foundation of Taj Mahal must have been. after 12 June 1632. and October. Bernier. places appointed for streets. the French doctor who stayed in India during 1658-1665 notes. to remove all the City hither. What has Mundy recorded? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!! That’s strange. was the commencement of those incessant and heavy rains with which the country is visited in the months of July. The banks of the river Yamuna have been formed by the alluvial sediment deposited over hundreds of years by the river.1891 edition p82) Then.gold. September. as Mundy says.e. Gold and silver esteemed common metal and marble but as ordinaire stones.
Volume IV Mughal Period. most don’t want to know. Some such system was no doubt employed in the substructure of the terrace. 26 . United Provinces.Of course they are. Taj Mahal is described on pages 561-567. There is a reference to foundations in Cambridge History of India. At the same time. Mr Percy Brown tells us. why historians don’t want to know about the flood defences and foundations? The reason is simple. They cannot explain why Mundy saw no such works.] What has Mundy recorded? Nothing! That’s strange!! Tell me. The foundation wells are described in the following reports of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) :* Annual Report of 1936-1937. * Annual Report of 1958-59 page 95 plate XCIIA Do Historians recognise this obvious structural requirement? With one exception. demanded special care in the preparation of foundations which it was the practice of the Mughal builders to support on masonry cylinders. p4 line 14 * Annual Report of 1957-58 page 83. ----------------------------------------------Now. Section I. we are faced with another problem. We have to conclude that both the flood defences and heavy foundations did exist when Mundy was in Agra. Why? They wish to maintain the legend. 1937.” [But Brown quotes no reference from any court chronicle. its proximity to the river. Conservation. "…. which are time consuming and don’t fit in the time table of legend.
27 . pass through the Main Gateway. being used as a Mosque and a building on the east called Jawab. These are best seen by walking outside to the river bank and looking up. Where? Why don’t we see them? The hidden basements Visitors. In the middle of this terrace is a 19 ft high plinth lined with marble on which stands the Central Edifice which is said to house the tombs of Mumtaz and Shahjahan. There is building on the west. after purchasing their tickets. They walk in the garden at the end of which we find a huge terrace measuring 1000 ft by 300 ft and 4 ft above garden level.What? There are two basement stories under Taj Mahal. If we walk to the end of this huge terrace and go to the riverside as far as the grill/ parapet and look down we see two basement stories under the terrace. But only three authors have mentioned them. These are so conspicuous that even a layman can see them unmistakably.
as it depicts Taj Mahal as seen from the riverside. On page 3 they tell us. Opposite page 28 are some pictures. They visited Taj Mahal in 1789. Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official by Lt Col W H Sleeman was published. They were invited by the (English) East India Company for sketching various aspects of life in India. The Taj Mahul. basements of the building only are of red stones. their ‘Views’ clearly show the two basements. Note – Thomas and William Daniells were two English painters (uncle and nephew). This shows the two basement stories under the main terrace.” Note – Thus Keene admitted that there are basements under central edifice. Why did he not want to see what’s inside 28 1874 the the the the . “the domes are all of white marble. In footnote on page 39 he says.” Moreover.Two basement floors 1801 Views of the Taje Mahel at the city of Agra in Hindoostan taken in 1789. No 2. 1844 Keene’s Handbook to Agra (revised edition) was published. By Daniells was published. “ This majestic edifice is stretched on an immense basement 40 feet high. In Volume II page 27 he tells us that he visited Taj Mahal on 1 January 1836. They are :The Taj Mahul or Tomb of Noor Mahal wife of Shah Jahan.
It shows that the two stories extend to the entire width of Taj Mahal. there is yet another riddle. He was also President of Agra Archaeological Society. i.Taj and its Environments. clearly showing the two basement stories. He was deeply involved with the work of Archaeological Survey of India from 1848 to 1882. we have to accept that these did exist when Mundy was at Agra.e. For example – 1912 * Vincent Smith’s book . Department of Tourism. contains a photograph opposite page 121.P). Why does not even one single Historian of any nationality mention these basements??? Pictures of these basements are seen in many books. there are at least two stories below the (so called) Jawab and also below the (so called) Mosque. former British Prime Minister. ----------------------------------------------------------Now. 29 . “Panoramic view of Taj Mahal with its Mosque and Jamayat Khana from the river front ” 1977 * An excellent picture appears on pages 98/99 in the book Heath Travels by Mr Edward Heath. See page 412. It clearly shows the two basements.History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon contains a photo of Taj Mahal taken from across the river.basements? It is interesting to note that Henry George Keene was an officer in the Indian Civil Service (ICS) from 1847 to 1883. published a booklet called Uttar Pradesh. 1981 * In August 1981. why did he not explore the basements?? More than 100 years have passed since retirement of Keene. 1924 * Maulavi M Ahmad’s book . It contains a photo of Taj Mahal from the riverside. He served in the United Province of Oudh and Agra (U. Since Mundy does not mention these 2 basement stories. The title under the photograph is. So. Government of India.
In 1633 Mundy mentions that gold and silver were ‘esteemed common metals. (surface area about 72. What? Mystery of disappearance of Gold and Silver articles from Taj Mahal. Then we must wonder what did Shahjahan build? --------------------------------------------There is one additional complication. The marble lining area is therefore 64x4x116 ft = 29. Thus. marble is used on the exterior of the Main dome. the entire construction is of brick. * We therefore have no option but to agree that entire brickwork for the Central Edifice was already in existence when Peter Mundy was in Agra. We have to remember that the top of main dome from garden level is some 213 ft. marble is used on the outside on borders either side of the main arches and also above the arches. then on both sides of brickwork of Cenotaph and surrounding rooms and also on the rooms in the upper floor. “marble is being used as if ordinary stone. red sandstone and marble are used as lining only.What? Mundy says. Marble is also used for lining of the 19 ft high plinth (surface area 23. and on the exterior of domes.696 sq ft In addition. M Ahmad gives the perimeter of each minaret as 64 ft. 4 secondary domes and Chhatris over minarets. we are gradually accepting that the entire building complex was already in existence. 30 .” What is the problem with that? Well.660 sq ft) The four minarets are lined with marble on the outside.’ What happened to those afterwards? They disappeared. Work on this extensive marble lining would NOT have started until all the brickwork has been complete.788sq ft). The Mosque and the Jawab are both lined with red sandstone.
• French physician Bernier visited Taj in 1665. He lived in India for more than 50 years and gives a very extensive account of life and conditions existing in India in those days. • Manrique visited the Taj in the winter of 1640/41. is astonishing. He had also tried to estimate total wealth of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. But. Religion. Geography. • Strange! What about the Italian adventurer Manucci? He visited Taj in about 1664. but he mentions the wealth of Shahjahan in detail (including gold and silver ornaments) • Tavernier visited the Taj in the winter of 1640/41 and then in 1665. His desire to collect information about Indian History. Bernier says nothing about them. he too says nothing about any gold and silver articles. What does he say? Nothing ! Why? Did he too forget? 31 . May be he too forgot to mention them? That suggestion is absurd. in the company of Tavernier.How? Let us see what successive European travellers have noted. Is it possible that he forgot them? But then he describes Delhi and Agra in detail and even tells of the fruits and vegetables one could buy in the bazaar (market). customs and trade. Though he never travelled south. Does he say anything about gold and silver articles? No. he did obtain a picture of the Maratha King Shivaji.
but just consider the information gathered by Tavernier. ” (pp 53-132) In Book III. notes..g. money and nothing else. chapter) I. For example In Book (i.. around 1646/7] * Tavernier also describes gold. he talks about money.That is just not plausible. coloured stones and places where they are obtained. an enormous quantity of cottons is sold there. ” (p 110) So. he mentions the great Maratha King Shivaji and says that while carrying out excavations for some fortifications Shivaji discovered hidden treasure buried in ground (pp205/206). he tells us. money... “ ...e. In his book Travels in India which runs into 900 pages. pay of servants etc. In Book II. “ . [Maratha historians confirm that this was on the fort of Torana.. cost of bulls. detailed description of jewels of Great Mogol (pp 394/401) . We should remember that Tavernier never met Shivaji. information about most beautiful diamonds. coral and yellow and amber and the places where they are found etc . had there been any there. It is unbelievable that such a person would have forgotten to describe the articles of gold and silver in Taj Mahal. method of searching for diamonds. he gives us many details e. cost of maintaining elephants. Where did all the gold and silver go between 1633 and 1640? Only Shahjahan could have stripped Taj Mahal of all the precious metals. silver and other precious ornaments of gods and goddesses in various temples in India... rubies of Asia. * He was so obsessed with money that he even goes to the extent of giving the details of funeral expenses incurred for his brother Daniell (pp 376-378). 32 . we have to conclude that Mundy saw extensive use of gold and silver in 1633 in Taj Mahal but no European traveller after 1640 saw any trace of them. He. diamonds and mines and rivers where they are found. on the other hand.
King Ecbar’s (Akbar’s) tombe. Tage Moholl’s (Taj Mahal’s) Tombe. --------------------------------------------------------There is also another unexplained mystery. garden and Bazare” ------------------------------------------------------------What you say may be true.” So. suddenly disappearing afterwards? Historians say absolutely nothing! They do not offer even an absurd explanation. “places appointed for streets. he is already talking about Craftsmen carrying out repairs!! How? This question was never raised. shopkeepers. shops etc dwellings. It was full of gold and silver which was looted by Shahjahan. “… Places of note (in and about it i. Artificers to inhabit where they begin to repaire and called by her name Tage Gange.e. FACTORY RECORDS Didn’t the English and Dutch have their factories (trading posts) at Agra? Yes they did. Agra) are castle. Nothing could be simpler.What do the historians say about the mystery of gold and silver. But on pages 208 and 209 he also says. “This king is now building a sepulchre for his late deceased Queen Taje Moholl…”? This indicates quite explicitly that the ancient building (which was being converted into a mausoleum) did exist in 1632 and it was comparable in grandeur to the Red Fort at Agra. 33 . but doesn’t Mundy say on p212. Yes. which was mentioned by Peter Mundy in 1633. That is why it had become ‘a place of note’. commanding merchants. What? In the above quote Mundy tells us.
The English Factories in India. carry out a trade in precious stones like diamonds and return to France safely. English translations were available in London since 1671 (English) East India Company was trying to conquer territories in India since the battle of Plassey in 1757. 1914] No one has so far referred to Dutch East India Company records. This view was prevalent in England for more than 200 years 1889 to 1914 In 1889. It seems therefore that they do not contain any information about Taj Mahal. And as such.Anything in their factory records? Nothing! The (English) East India Company had a factory at Agra from 1618 to 1655. [Ref :. his 34 . Let us summarise how the Historians made up the legend over the years. Company’s military officers and civil administrators would have certainly read Tavernier’s book and must have emphasised in their writings that Tavernier saw the commencement and completion of Taj Mahal and that 20.Foster W. And he did this not once but five times. That is all the contemporary records there are.000 men worked on it incessantly. GROWTH OF THE TAJ LEGEND From 1671 to 1889 * Tavernier was a great French adventurer of 17th century. It was no ordinary matter to travel from France to India and then so extensively in India. published in French in 1670 must have caused a sensation in Europe. It took them another hundred years to subdue the whole of India. Mumtaz Mahal or tomb of the queen of Shahjahan built by him in their records. details of all the voyages of Tavernier were known and it was clear that he came to Agra only twice – in the winter of 1640-41 and in 1665. He could not have therefore seen the commencement and completion of Taj Mahal as we proved earlier. His ‘Travels in India’. Is that all? Yes. And yet there is no mention of the Taj Mahal.
in their factory records. Alas.” 35 . H G Keene did say in 1909 that Tavernier could not have seen the commencement of Taj Mahal. Contrary to Tavernier’s 20. Manrique’s Travels in India was translated from Spanish into English. Historians just pick up one sentence from his testimony – “the building is begun and goes on with excessive labour and cost. 1927 onwards In 1927. how absurd explanations were given for the discrepancy. “Gold and silver are being used as if common metal. Their authority was unchallenged after the suppression of the Great Revolt against the rule of the English East India Company in 1857-59. is meaningless and should be discarded. 1914 to 1927 * Accounts of Peter Mundy the Cornish merchant employed by English East India Company were published in 1914. ” They conceal all other details as we have examined earlier.000 men worked for 22 years incessantly. kept on saying – Tavernier saw the whole thing. They simply set aside this information.000 men were working. this did not bother any historians. But there is no mention of Taj Mahal. The English Factories in India (1630 to 1660) by W Foster was published in 1914. But barring this exception. add 22 years of Tavernier’s account and thus arrive at the legend that the Taj was built between 1631 and 1653 and 20. even after his retirement in 1900.000 men Manrique says only 1. Mundy says. Mundy was in Agra during 1631 –33. We saw how this discrepancy was largely set aside and when it was dealt with. officers in the Indian Civil Service like Vincent Smith. The (English) East India Company had a factory in Agra from 1618 to 1655. but mentions gold and silver being used as common metal and marble as ordinary stone. Historians make one serious omission.statement that 20. He makes no mention of any foundations. Mumtaz Mahal or any tomb of Shahjahan’s wife built by him.000 men worked were constantly employed.
Thus. He had so many things to worry about. Let us now review the limitations of 17th century European travellers in India and then see how doubts were raised about reliability of their accounts by historians. But Historians conveniently ignore him. mentions any gold or silver in Taj Mahal. be it Tavernier (French jewel merchant).We should also remember that Tavernier did not find out even the name of the lady for whom Taj is supposed to have been built. after travelling some 900 miles he halted at Agra. All historians are silent on this aspect. Manrique (Portuguese missionary). Limitations of 17th century European travellers. He simply calls her ‘a Begum‘. may be purchase or hire horses and carts. the Taj legend arose from unquestioned reliance placed on European Travellers’ accounts. Historians took it for granted that Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal and then looked at the Travellers’ accounts for support of their assumption. So. search for an interpreter. hire servants and guards for his own protection. He could not have imagined that 250 years later his account would be taken as sacrosanct. For example. (a) Tavernier was a French jewel merchant and he was travelling in India for his business. 36 . No scrutiny was needed because Manrique was a white man! Historians took the remark of Manrique to mean that the Architect of Taj Mahal must have been a foreigner! * J A de Mandelslo a German visited Agra in 1638 but says nothing about the construction of Taj Mahal and his accounts were available in English in 1662. We saw how wrong they were. He was travelling from Dacca to Surat by the traditional route.Where did it all go? No European traveller who went to Agra after Mundy (1633). There was a vague mention in Manrique’s account that the Architect was an Italian named Verroneo. He first visited Agra in the winter of 1640-41. he had to make arrangements for his further travel of some 600 miles. • Note . Bernier (French doctor) or Manucci (Italian adventurer).
Manrique also did not find out the name of the lady of Taj!! He calls her simply ‘a Begum. Unfortunately Shahjahan had moved to Lahore. but got tired of waiting and decided to travel to Lahore on his own. And yet in 1640. He passed around Java.” Manrique decided to follow the Nawab. It was under such circumstances that he made notes of his visit to Agra. but I am due to go to Lahore to see the Emperor. How could Tavernier make such an obvious mistake? But he did make that mistake and no historian offers any explanation. When he succeeded Jehangir in 1628. In those days. Among them was Father Antonio de Christo who was imprisoned in Agra. • Moreover. The Nawab Subdal Chan who had been left as Governor of Agra said to Manrique. In 1632. The merchant sent one of his relatives with Manrique to Agra. Why can’t they say that he made other mistakes also? -------------------------------(b) Manrique was a Portuguese missionary from Oporto. close to which there is a garden where the king Jahangir. He took religious orders in Goa in 1604 at the age of 17. So. Manrique sought pardon for this priest. 12 years later.’ 37 . Sumatra and Borneo. he assumed the title Shahjahan. Manrique came to Agra from Dacca because the Royal Court used to be at Agra. Shahjahan sought revenge. From 1629 to 1640 he travelled to the Far East (Arakan in Burma. Philippines.• Moreover. Manrique sought help of a rich and influential merchant and travelled to Biana (3 days journey).” We know that Jahangir died in Lahore and was buried there. after describing Taj Mahal. So he stayed in Agra. father of Shah Jahan is interred. Manrique refers to Shahjahan as Corrombo (corruption of Khurram). the Portuguese in Hugli (Calcutta) annoyed the Mughals by their behaviour. Macao in China etc). one of Shahjahan’s generals laid siege to Hugli during low tide and took Portuguese men and women captive and send them to Agra. or rather tomb of Begum of Shah Jahan. Qasim Khan. “I have no orders for release of Father Christo. like Tavernier. • We should also note here that original name of Shahjahan was Khurram. on 24 December 1640. “When you reach Agra from Delhi side you meet a large bazaar. Tavernier says.
to remove all the Cittie hither. “There is alreadye about her Tombe a raile of gold. namely Dara Shukoh and Shah Shuja. He started writing his manuscript after this voyage. some 30 years after departing from Agra. The buildinge is begun and goes on with excessive labour and cost. On hearing the news of death of Jahangir. he had already travelled more than 25. a hazardous journey of three months. He returned to Agra on 22 December 1632 (2 January 1633 as per Gregorian calendar).000 miles. he again set sail for India and Japan in 1635. Shahjahan wanted to return to Agra to claim his throne. “ 38 . “ • We cannot make sense of his next sentence “Hee (Shah Jahan) intends. So. On 25 February 1633 (8 March according to Gregorian calendar) Mundy was placed in charge of Caphila of 268 camels and 109 carts with their lading at the request of the East India Company. returning to London in 1658 and his home town Penryn in 1663. In 1655 he made his 3rd voyage to India. Mundy mentions above story and then suddenly adds. Mundy was a compulsive traveller. After his return to England from India in 1634. prosecuted with extraordinary dilligence. he pretended to be dead and was laid in a coffin which was transported to Agra where he miraculously recovered and came out of the coffin. Before that date the Company asked him to go on a commercial mission to Patna some 400 miles away from Agra. and Marble but as ordinarie stones. He had a 5 year contract with the company expiring in February 1633. as some thinck. cawseinge hills to be made levell because they might not hinder the prospect of it…. and travelled from Agra to Surat. In 1640 he travelled in Europe. He then witnessed celebrations of weddings of two of Shahjahan’s sons.------------------------------------(c) Peter Mundy was a merchant employed by the (English) East India Company and stationed at Agra. Gold and silver esteemed comon Mettall. Shahjahan had rebelled against his father Jahangir and fled south. Mundy made whatever notes he could under such circumstances. But he realised that if he came openly he would be attacked by his rivals to the throne. Before travelling to India. • There is mix up in Mundy’s accounts.
The most important question connected with Tavernier's work is the credibility of the narrative. particularly priests 39 ... he kept during his wanderings. It is astonishing that though some authors had warned about unreliability of Travellers’ accounts... He prepared a new edition but died before he could publish it. Tavernier and Dr J Fryer) thought it necessary to distinguish clearly between information based on his own experience and that acquired. ICS and the new edition came out in 1925.Whatever may have been his knowledge of Persian. For matters of which.. ” p xxxiii "..His description of some places are manifestly incorrect. his book gives no information on this point. -----------------------------------------------------------Re-examination by other historians What you say may be right. but surely some historians would have noted deficiencies in these Travellers’ accounts as you have pointed out. They did. Lord Curzon dealing with his (Tavernier’s) Persian travels writes.The question arises – why would Shahjahan want to move the city of Agra eastwards? There was no need. in the case of Tavernier. from shipmasters or other travellers. he was not an eyewitness he depended on the merchants' tales current in ports and cities which he visited…Unfortunately neither of these writers (i. Here are some examples – Tavernier 1925 Travels in India by Tavernier was translated from original French and annotated by Dr V Ball in 1889.Chardin said he (Tavernier) never understood a word of Persian. In it Dr Ball tells us p xxxii ". it is certain that he had little or no acquaintance with any of the languages of India and he was always obliged to do his business through an interpreter.e... It is now impossible to say what record in the shape of notes or diaries. His wife gave permission to Mr William Crooke. ". when it comes to Taj Mahal they refuse to use their brains..
Tavernier seems to have recorded a rumour [ Bravo ! ] His own account is self-contradictory and is not reliable in view of facts and figures of history. .Tavernier was certainly not always an eye witness to events which he claims to have seen.” 1969 Taj Mahal. a dream in Marble. the contemporary Persian chroniclers do not make the slightest 40 . Tavernier) was not a scientifically trained observer who visited India with the intention of describing the country and its people.” "It is a misconception.. At the very beginning he says. He was again at Agra in August-September 1665.. Prof Ram Nath does doubt reliability of Tavernier. whose friendship he enjoyed.. Mehtab Burj and the wall which adjoins it opposite the Taj mahal are generally said to be the foundations and remains of the proposed plan.” “Later Gazetteers and guide-books mention it almost invariably. Shah Jahan proposed to construct another Taj in black marble on the other side of the river Jumna and to connect them by a bridge. " As a historian. He was in India on his second voyage to the East in 1640-41.. It has been recorded almost contemporarily by Tavernier who noted " Shahjehan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river but the war with his own sons interrupted his plan and Aurangzeb who reigns at present is not disposed to complete it. He observed it from the point of view of a merchant. when the Taj was under construction and a replica on the other side of the river could not have been begun.. "According to the popular legend...e. ” p xliv "..” On pages xi to lix we find Some Additional Notes on Tavernier's History and Geography by H A Rose of Jersey.. a special issue of MARG magazine of Bombay was published in June.and friars of the Roman Catholic Church..We must remember that he (i. Tavernier's account of Bijapur has raised a surmise that he never visited that city. the idea belongs more to fiction than to history. Lahauri and Kambo.” p xxxv ". Particularly Moinuddin attached greatest credit to the idea and went to the extent of suggesting traces of the un-matured plan on the other side. He tells us p 52 (i)The Story of a Second Taj. Tavernier is not always to be trusted..
The two vastly differ in plan as well as in elevation and by no stretch of imagination can the former be a replica of the latter.." ----------------------Manrique 1927 Travels of Fray Sebastian Manrique (1629-1643) was translated by Lt Col C E Luard. but that the parsimonious Aurangzeb refused to carry out this grand design and placed his father without more ado in the existing Taj. The legend has been current ever since. and Father H Hosten..] The traces which are identified as the foundations of the second Taj cannot be associated in this way. The masonry structure which extends to the west of the Mehtab Burj is not a foundation but the enclosing wall of the Mehtab Bagh which was founded by Babur [this is yet another misconception] . in 1666] recorded that Shah Jahan had intended a replica of the Taj in black marble to be built as his own mausoleum on the opposite bank of the Jumna connected with his wife's by a bridge.” 1971 we find - The Great Mughals by Bamber Gascoigne was published. C I E. In this book p 222 -"Jean Baptise Tavernier. In Volume I the authors tell us :p 170 ".The account given shows that Manrique's description is mainly from heresay.mention of this plan.. on the other hand. at the time [i. although there is no other contemporary evidence to support it..e.” 41 .. The north-east tower of the Taj. The Mehtab Burj is single storeyed crowned by a chhatri and stands hardly 12 ft above the river. is multi-storeyed with a complex arrangement of rooms and verandahs and stands 43 ft above the river. and published by Hakluyt Society. who was in India.Mundy notes that no one could enter the tomb of Akbar.. But the same remarks should also apply to other details. [Very true.
we were to go into an adjoining room. But this list of Mansabdars appears to be at least in part original. at any rate it differs here and there from de Laet..” "Just behind came the heir-apparent. It is worth considering how much of this account refers to what was actually seen by Manrique and how much is derived (as he is entirely devoid of scruple in such matters) from what he read.. our eunuch returned to fetch us. entered. after lasting over four hours. in being obliged to rid of ourselves of un-restrainable and importunate phlegm.The whole description of the palace and throne is unconvincing and looks as if it was taken from some account Manrique found and perhaps from what he read. A eunuch conducted us there...” p 297 "." . ” "First of all four lovely girls. The dinner was brought in rich golden dishes. accompanied by a large bevy of gallant. which he pointed out to us..... (Vol II pp 213-220) .. leading the former on his right and the latter on his left. Assofo Kan.” "When the time came and Emperor entered. relations of Prince Assofo Kan and daughters of great Noblemen..” " ...Following this lovely bevy of women came and the Emperor between his mother-in-law and his daughter.... on his right......... handsome women. On the conclusion of this idle discourse the dinner ended also. for if we stayed to the end it would be very difficult for us.” ++++ 42 . telling us it was time we left. and should we be forced to make any... and warned us not to make sound.. Manrique says... with his grandfather...Manrique never obtained this information locally (as he maintains) but plagiarized shamelessly without acknowledgement. When the feast had reached this stage. which even the highest noblemen would not have dared to do.” These are just a few examples of un-reliability of Manrique...p 199 ".” p 203 ".. Manrique even claims to have seen secretly Shahjahan and Asaf Khan having a dinner with their ladies! Something.” p 274 ".. And if they are not sufficient.. Prince Sultan Dara Sucur. .... taking this account out of de Laet.One cannot accept this statement reliable in view of the proofs of Manrique's plagiarism from De Laet.
keeping an eye on Rajas and Maharajas (1897-1925). Programme " University Challenge ” was published. they tell us. The Begum is wearing full burqua (veil) and yet Col Luard and Father Hosten would have us believe that in 1641 it was possible for Manrique to gaze for 4 hours at Shahjahan’s daughters and mother-in-law!! There is no limit to which traditionalists would go to support the Taj Lagend. but whether Manrique could have seen it at all. He did not even have a glance at any Muslim women." Both gentlemen had lived and worked in India. "These gentlemen conveniently forgot to tell us that. The question is not whether such a meeting was possible. In footnote number 10 on page 215. In many Indian Musulman families.e. Luard was an officer in the 8th Gurkhas for six years (1890-96) and was later entrusted with political work in Central India i. Muslim women lived an excluded life in the Harem or Zanana of Muslim Kings. Note – In India. In this book we find p 189 Referring to Manrique who claims to have observed for four hours. a banquet at Lahore in 1641 at which the ladies of the Royal Mughal Harem were present. had Manrique even come within talking distance from where the ladies of the harem were present. " One needs to treat travellers' 43 The Great Mughals by Bamber Gascoigne. There is a public photograph of him and Begum of Bhopal. Italian adventurer Nicoloi Manucci says so clearly. however.Neither Col Luard nor Father Hosten make any comments on such a fantastic claim. famous presenter of the T V 1971 . it is curiously strict nowadays and no such meeting. the authors simply say. Edward VIII as Prince of Wales visited India in 1921. he would have been cut to pieces by the eunuchs. " it appears that the parda (veil) was not maintained among such near relatives. "As pardanishin (secluded) ladies were to be present their looking on (by other males) would have given serious offence. Manucci. Father Hosten lived in Calcutta and belonged to the Society of Jesuits. They express no surprise. as is described would be possible. In footnote number 3 on page 213. the Italian adventurer lived in India for more than 50 years. Gascoigne says.
So. Their knowledge of the country and its people was in most cases superficial and the value of their accounts necessarily depended upon the sources of their information..But they had their limitations as well. what about the official records of Shahjahan? Well.As a contemporary source of Indian History. Maulavi Kabir Al Din Ahmad and Maulavi Abd Al Rahim. Their veracity is not to be questioned but we need not accept anything on trust…” “Their learning. their sincerity are not suspected. Yet we may not be able to accept all their statements as equally authentic without a sifting enquiry as to their sources that may not always be equally irreproachable . their integrity. 44 .tales of the time with some caution. Director of Government Archives. The compilers were two Muslims. was published. but what cannot be dispensed with is not necessarily infallible. since there was a convention of presenting hearsay under the guise of personal experience. It was the Muslim Rulers who started keeping historical records relating to their rule. New Delhi. They suffered from common credulity of their age and they were not always in a position to verify or test the accuracy of what they were told. Regarding the value of travellers' accounts. they will always remain indispensable. there was a Badshahnama – an official chronicle of the reign of Shahjahan..” -----------------------Travellers in general 1949 Indian Travels of Thevenot and Careri by Surendranath Sen... Sen says in the preface :p lxiv ". The Persian text of the same was published by Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1867. OFFICIAL CHRONICLE OF SHAHJAHAN Haven’t you forgotten one thing? What? The British Historians have pointed out that the Hindu Kings had no sense of History and kept no sensible historical records. They worked under the superintendence of Major W N Lees.” * What a pity these words were not heeded.
The British ruled India for 80 years after publication of Badshahnama.Calcutta Annette Beveridge Ain-e-Akbari part I Ain-e-Akbari part II Akbar. We must ask WHY??? What were they hiding? Moreover why is it that not a single European or American scholar was 45 . Calcutta 1897. Here is the list Chronicle Babur-Nama (2 volumes) Humayun-Nama Year of English translation 1905 Translator Annette Beveridge 1902.Was there an English translation of Badshahnama? NO. London Royal Asiatic society 1873. There were translations of chronicles of Shahjahan’s forefathers. but no British Historian was interested in translating the Badshahnama into English. London A Rogers and H Beveridge Annette Beveridge [Note -Henry Beveridge was an ICS officer who worked in Bengal. what happened to Badshahnama? Why was it not translated into English? All the Historians are quiet on this question. Annette was his wife] So. Calcutta 1897. London 1914.Nama of Abul Fazal Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri part I Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri part II Prof H F Blochman & H S Jarrett Prof H F Blochman & H S Jarrett Henry Beveridge 1909. but not of Shahjahan.
Why?? Is the Badshahnama at least referred to in the Bibliographies of various authors? We find NO reference to Badshahnama in the following works – 1873 -------------- A Handbook for visitors to Agra by H G Keene A Handbook for visitors to Agra (revised edition) by H G Keene 1875 9th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica 1874 Turks in India by H G Keene Imperial Gazetteer of India by Sir W W Hunter 1882 1881 1879 Murray’s Handbook of Bengal 1888 A Handbook for visitors to Agra (revised edition) by H G Keene 1889 Travels in India by Tavernier – Translated from original French and annotated by Dr V Ball 1891 Murray’s Handbook (for travellers to) Indian and Ceylon 1893 Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official by Col Sleeman – edited 46 .interested in undertaking the translation for the last 139 years.
1877 History of India as told by its Own Historians. Volume VII dealing with reigns of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb by Elliot and Dowson was published. After his death his work was edited and published by Prof Dowson. Note -The above work was originally compiled by Sir Henry M Elliot. We do find references to the Badshahnama in the book Agra Historical and Descriptive by Syed Muhammad Latif. It contains a 79-page index covering all the eight volumes. Sandhurst. ------------------------------We do find Badshahnama referred to for the first time in 1877. He died in 1853. Latif does refer to Badshanama and says on p105 – “The site selected for the mausoleum was to the south of the 47 .by Vincent Smith. Vincent A Smith was also an officer in the ICS.P from 1871 to 1900.) from 1847 to 1883. who taught at the Royal Military Academy. It is astonishing that. --------------------- When was the Badshahnama referred to by any other author? That was in 1896.P. though pages 3 to 72 contain translations of extracts from some pages of Badshahnama. there is no mention of Taj Mahal and the authors did not express any surprise!! It is even more astonishing that no ‘Gentleman Cadets’ at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst asked any questions about it either. but with a twist. He too worked in the U. Those Cadets were said to have been the cream of the British Society. It is based on chronicles of various Muslim Rulers of India. And yet the words Taj Mahal do not exist in the index. Volume VIII of above works was also published in 1877. Sir Elliot was Secretary to Government of India in the Foreign Department. Notes :Henry George Keene was an officer in the ICS and worked in the United Province of Oudh and Agra (U. Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
". * Gold and silver were used extensively in the construction of this palace.. Delhi etc was published. Shahjahan came to Agra on 12th June 1632. in Mundy’s account.” This confession solves all the mysteries – * What Shahjahan grabbed was a Palace of Late Raja Man Singh (of Jaipur). Mundy says.” How is this feasible in a new construction?] --------------------------------It is interesting to see what happened after Latif’s book was published in 1896 1898 Keene’s Handbook to Agra. Jawab and also chambers which remain sealed even today. In between two Princes of Shahjahan got married. Brown does not explain the purposes of two Nagar Khanas or Drumhouses. Moreover. each undertaking was initially perfected in all its parts with every need anticipated ” [As we shall see later.one of the most striking facts in connection with the architectural projects of this period.. Peter Mundy mentions them in 1633 and then they suddenly disappear from sight.. 1901 48 .There is already about her tomb. In 1942 Percy Brown published Indian Architecture (Islamic Period). permitted no subsequent amendments or afterthoughts. Raja Jai Singh.. is the amount of preliminary thought that must have been expended on them before the actual construction was begun. a rail of gold. * It also solves another mystery – that of planning and design. No reference in it to either Badshahnama or Latif. just nine months later. but it was the property of his grandson. It was originally a palace of Raja Man Singh.. Was that sufficient time for all the planning involved? Moreover.City. and Peter Mundy left Agra on 8th March 1633. He tells us p 116 ". Therefore there is no mention of any foundations required. The building art as practised by the Mughals.
He tells us on pp 73/74 – “According to the old Tartar custom. “ . Volume I. and not by force or fraud.Murray’s Handbook for Travellers to India was edited by J Burgess. Calcutta. Six months later her remains were sent to Agra and interred in the garden of Raja Jai Singh to the south of the city. or Latif 1904 Agra and Taj by E B Havell was published. It was exchanged for a good piece of land in the royal domains (Ref – Badshahnama of Mulla Abdul Hamid of Lahore. Rajah Jey Singh to whom the garden belonged was compensated by the gift of another property from the Emperor’s private estate. History of Taj by Moin-ud-din Ahmad was published. by force or fraud? ] So. … Her body was interred in a portion of the garden of Raja Man Singh. Moreover. former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India.” [why did not Shahjahan build the tomb on his own land?] Havell does NOT refer to Badshahnama or Latif. Arjumand Banu better known as Mumtaz Mahal.” pp 212-216 “The name Taj Mahal is corruption of her title and is unknown to early writers. [Havell does not say from where he got this information.” 49 1905 . p403) Agra District Gazetteer By sheer coincidence. died in childbirth and was buried there. Over her restingplace the emperor erected the famous tomb known as the Taj Mahal.. Agra District Gazetteer was also published in 1905. In the bibliography we find Latif but NO Badshahnama! And we are told – p154 “While encamped in Burhanpur his wife. Havell was the Principal of Government School of Arts. a garden was chosen as a site for the tomb. why should any one need to acquire land for burial. And yet on page 12 we find. … The old tradition laid down that it must be acquired by fair means. The plot on which the mausoleum stands belonged to Raja Man Singh’s grandson Raja Jai Singh. No reference in it to either Badshahnama. He does refer to Badshahnama and Latif.
Taj Mahal is described on pages 412-419. There are references to Latif (pp14. and purchased from its owner.16 and112) and Badshahnama (p161 &178). In a footnote Smith does refer to Latif. F. ITS BUILDERS AND STONES “ A special tract of land. but overlooks the vital information by Latif namely that the site chosen for the mausoleum was late Raja Mansingh’s Palace. south of Agra city. i. her remains lay in a temporary grave at the place of her death. Volume II Travels in Asia was edited by Lt Col 50 1914 . This garden was exchanged for equally valuable state land. 1911 Britannica was published. And yet we find on page 149.S. (Padishahnama. known as that of Raja Man Singh but then owned by his grandson Raja Jai Singh was selected for her permanent internment. others meekly followed him afterwards. 1912 Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and other Historical Essays by Prof Yadunath Sarkar was published.G.E. C. He tells us – pp 148/9 THE TAJ.” 1910 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Badshahnama and no Latif. Rajah Jai Singh. was chosen for the burial place.(which was in the possession of his grandson Raja Jai Singh) ** Thus. the grandson of Man Singh. No History of Fine Arts in India and Ceylon by Vincent Smith was published.” The travels of P Mundy. what was known as Raja Mansingh’s Palace had suddenly become Raja Mansingh’s piece of land in 1905!! As the person who deliberately twisted this fact was Mr H R Nevill of the Indian Civil Service. “ … For six months. Let us just see some examples --------------------------------------------------1909 7th edition of H G Keene’s Handbook for visitors to Agra was rewritten and brought up to date by E A Duncan. 403). and in the meantime a garden at Agra..
Sir R C Temple, C I E. In the bibliography we do find Latif’s book of 1896. But Sir Temple does not mention what Latif has said. 1921 Agra District Gazetteer – 2nd edition was published, but no change in the information from that was already provided in 1905 edition
The Taj and its Environment by M Ahmad was published. This is the second edition of the book published in 1905 under the title – History of Taj. We find –
pp 9 -10 “Mumtaz died at Burhanpur in 1040 A.H (1630 A.D). … The remains, in accordance with the eastern custom, were deposited temporarily in the Garden of Zenabad near the (river) Tapti in Burhanpur.” p 13 “ … Six months after Mumtaz Mahal’s death, her remains were conveyed from Burhanpur to the Capital Akbarabad (Agra), under the charge of Prince Shuja and of Satiu-Nisa Khanum … The Begam and the King’s physician, Wazir Khan, accompanied the escort.” (Badshahnama, Volume I pp 402-403) p14 The plot on which the Mausoleum stands originally belonged to Raja Man Singh, and was, in Shah Jahan’s time, in the possession of Raja’s grandson, Raja Jaisingh. It was exchanged for a good piece of land in the royal domain. (Badshshnama, Volume I, p403) In the footnote we find details of Raja Man Singh and Raja Jai Singh.
1925 Tavernier's Travels in India was again edited by William Crooke of the Bengal Civil Service. In the preface he tells us that Dr Valentine Ball revised his 1889 edition but died before he could publish the revised second edition. William Crooke was allowed by Mrs Ball to publish it, and had made several corrections. There is reference to Latif on page 87, but not to Badshahnama and no change in the basic information on Taj Mahal. 51
Thus, 58 years after the publication of its Persian text, Badshahnama was not referred to by most historians. There was reluctance to refer to Latif’s book of 1896 also, but when authors do refer to Latif they take no note of what he says. What was grabbed by Shahjahan was Raja Man Singh’s Palace and NOT Raja Man Singh’s piece of land. We have to wait till 1968 when Mr P N Oak published his book Taj Mahal is a Hindu Place. On pages 20-27 he gives full Persian text of Badshahnama Volume I pp 402-403 and its word-by-word translation in English. On page 403 of Badshahnama we are told – “Raja Mansingh’s palace, at that time owned by Raja Jaisingh (grandson of Raja Mansingh) was selected for burial of Arjumand Banu Begum alias Mumtaz-ul-Zamani.” (not Mumtaz Mahal as Encyclopaedia Britannica asserts). Although Raja Mansingh valued it greatly as his ancestral heritage and property, yet he would have been agreeable to part with it gratis for the Emperor Shajahan. (still) out of sheer scrupulousness so essential in matters of bereavement and religious sanctity (thinking it improper to take his palace gratis) in exchange of that (aali Manzil) grand palace, he (Jaisingh) was granted a piece of government land after the arrival of the dead body in that great city (Agra) on 15th Jamad-ul-Saniya.” “No payment was made to Raja Jaisingh.” “Badshahnama mentions vaguely that a piece of Government land was given to him as compensation for losing this grand palace.” And yet we find that authors like Sir Yadunath Sarkar and Maulavi Moinun-Din Ahmad, refer to same Badshshnama, Volume I page 403 and state that Raja Mansingh’s piece of land was taken over by Shahjahan.
Is Mr Oak’s translation correct?
Absolutely. As I mentioned in the preface, the translation was done for him by a Persian Expert. Mr Oak is the only person who has published full Persian text of pages 402/403 and word by word translation in English. We should note how similar looting is reported elsewhere in the world. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab died in 1839. East India Company fought wars with the Sikhs for the next ten years. They defeated the 52
Sikhs in 1849 and looted prized possessions of Ranjit Singh, including the famous Kohinoor diamond. And how is this described in the Crown Jewels section in the Tower of London? Ranjit Singh’s son presented the Kohinoor diamond to Queen Victoria!! In a similar manner the official chronicler of Shahjahan says that Raja Jaisingh was prepared to give his palace free to Shahjahan for burial of Mumtaz. What else do we expect? There are yet similar examples during the British Raj. Some Hindu Maharaja invited the British Political Agent, his wife and his daughter to see his personal collection of valuables. The British ladies picked up some precious necklaces or bracelets, and put them on to look in the mirror. But then there was no question of giving them back. The ladies simply walked away with the valuable jewellery! Their collection in England would now have a note – presented to so and so by Maharaja … Once the attitude of the British ladies was known, other Maharajas became wiser and were reluctant to show their private possessions to the British Political Agents. Raja Mansingh’s palace is Taj Mahal Something strange happened in 1982. In 1981, I had sent copies of letters published in the RIBA Journal, London, challenging the Taj Legend, to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and asked them to respond. I received no reply. In 1982 ASI published a small booklet named Taj Museum. The authors say on page 4/5 “The site selected for the burial was an extremely pleasant and lofty land situated to the south of the city on which till then stood the mansion (Manzil) of Raja Mansingh which was at that time in possession of the latter's grandson Raja Jaisingh.”
So, what happened to Raja Mansingh’s palace?
It is sensible, reasonable and logical to say that Raja Mansigh’s Palace is now known as Taj Mahal. --------------------Disappearance of gold articles
Does the Badshahnama throw any light on the disappearance of gold and silver from Raja Mansingh’s palace?
Maulana M Ahmad said.” (Agra. Weight of the rail was said to be 40. * In 1896.. 2. It was made under the supervision of Bebadal Khan.).. So. 3. Therefore the rail must have weighed 400..” " In the year 1052 A. " We are told in the Badshah Namah that. at a cost of fifty thousand rupees. the Superintendent of the Royal Kitchen (Khasa Sharifa).000 grammes or 400 Kg.. 1905. [so. the chef suddenly became a supervisor of goldsmiths!]. it was removed. and was a perfect specimen of the art of Indian jewellery. Master of the King's kitchen. a fence or enclosure of solid gold studded with gems was placed around the Empress's sarcophagus. as it was feared that gold in such mass would exposed to the danger of theft by ill-disposed people. This structure. and all of a sudden there was fear of theft. "The Badshahnama tells us that gold railing set in costly gems was prepared in 1632. was put up. previously referred to.. (1632 A.) * In 1905. which in elegance and beauty is a master-piece of sculpture. (Badshahnama Vol II pp 325-326)” History of Taj. was according to the Badshah Nama. prepared in a period of ten years. It was in place for ten years. It was made under the directions of Bebadal Khan.. p115.H. One Tola is roughly 10 grammes. It weighed forty thousand tolahs of pure gold and was valued at six lakhs of rupees. And yet historians tell us that Shahjahan's reign was golden and peaceful and he ruled like a father.H. Syad Mohammad Latif wrote.000 tolas. and in its stead the present net work of marble. 1896.D.Yes it does. in 1042 A. Let us look carefully at what two Muslim authors have said. (1642 A D) the golden palisade above mentioned was removed. pp 46/47 [This is wonderful! It implies four things :1 The golden rail appeared as soon as the coffin of Mumtaz was brought to Agra. It served as a protection to the tomb. Historical and descriptive. 4 Preparation for the marble screen had started as soon as the golden palisade was fixed in place!] 54 . No thief could easily move such a huge piece.
This just shows how we have accepted many such absurd explanations in the past.421] The Emperor being tired of his residence at Burhanpur. p. After 1918. They tell us p 31 " Return of the Court from Burhanpur to A'gra. resolved to return to the capital. Does it have a handrail around it for protection? No. was published in 1877. Volume VII dealing with the reign of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. -------------------------Why did Shahjahan come to Agra? There is yet another important question that has been sidelined. So. Let us see. So he set out 55 . Why did Shahjahan come to Agra. Moreover. but NOT the socalled Real Graves!! There are no barriers around the so-called Real graves. without question. Elliot and Dowson's ‘History of India as Told by its Own Historians’. how strange it is that there was need for protection of the cenotaph. This episode reminds me of a landmark in London. it was erected there in the memory of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in World War I and now serves as a memorial to all soldiers. six months after he sent there the coffin supposed to have contained the exhumed body of his wife? No one has asked the question and historians have been telling that Shahjahan came to Agra to start construction of Taj Mahal. why would the cenotaph of Mumtaz need protection? Precisely. That is why he grabbed Raja Mansingh’s palace under the pretext of burying Mumtaz. it would become clear to us that Shahjahan looted this huge golden rail as well as all other gold and silver articles from Taj Mahal. sailors and airmen who died in World War II and other conflicts. [Text Badshahnama Volume i.If we read between the lines. Isn’t there a Cenotaph [Empty tomb] in London? Yes there is a Cenotaph in the middle of main road called the Whitehall.
from the part of it facing the Fort several fragments of a Jain temple were exhumed. compiled by R C Temple. F G S. elegant villas. Seventh edition of H G Keene's Handbook for visitors to Agra was rewritten and brought up to date by E A Duncan. But there were some indications before 1925. the river Jumna flows from North to South. The western and southern bank of river Jumna (Yamuna) was full of palaces of the lords. as noted below Agra. which has a total length of 2.” . and beautiful gardens of the great nobles. who saw them. Shahjahan came to Agra simply because he got tired of staying in Burhanpur. the ancient Hindu city In 1909. which Bernier.] So.* * and arrived there on the 1st Zi-l-hijja..then passes under the fine Jumna railway bridge. and the shops of flourishing traders. Has anybody else referred to this fact? There was only one person. One of its black-basalt 56 . See Travels of Peter Mundy. " While the Strand was under construction (in 1838).. ------------------------------- The question now arises – what was Agra like when Shahjahan’s wife died? Was it just a huge barren land with Knights and Noblemen owning pieces of land. which are believed to be of great antiquity. After passing the Red Fort it turns towards the East.on 24th Ramzan.” [Note – This was 12 June 1632. We find :pp 77/78 " THE STRAND.. ] The details are contained in a Dutch document. and was built in 1875. 1041 A.H. while farther inward were less pretentious middle-class houses.From the Fort downward to some distance beyond the Taj..The Strand . C E. We had to wait till 1925 when it was translated into English. as Historians would have us believe? The answer is NO. the river Jumna once washed massive ghats (landing and bathing places) facing the stately palaces. footnote on page 188. 1914. according to his own official chronicle. describes as " a row of new houses with arcades resembling those of the principal streets in Delhi.427 feet.. according to Mundy. [Note – In Agra..
He says. Raja Kishan Das (3. and extend for a distance of 3 1/2 Holland miles [i.. In the preface.columns is in the Museum at Lucknow. Next is the palace of Raja Bhoj.000 horse). Governor of Burhanpur (rank 5. formerly steward of Sultan Khurram (1.000 horse)..The breadth of the city is by no means so great as the length. the younger brother of Asaf Khan (5. The title is confusing. Shahzada Khanam sister of the present king.. and two form the gate pillars of the General's house at Agra.e. this king’s mother. Goulzier Begam.000 horse). the palaces of Ehtibar Khan the eunuch who was Governor of Agra city at his death.] Pelsaert describes Agra on pages 1 to 5.” “Beginning from the north.. there is the palace of Bahadur Khan who was formerly king of the fortress of Asir (5 kos from Burhanpur).000 horse)..500 horse)..basically a commercial report.. Rustam Kandahari (5. one stands at the meeting of the roads near the Taj.000 horse) Itimad-ud-daula (5. " Pelsaert worked as a Senior Dutch Factor (Merchant) at Agra from 1620 to 1627. .000 horse). Then come Ibrahim Khan (3.” [Note : The report in Dutch was never published.000 horse).His spellings of Indian names are remarkably accurate . father of the present Rai Ratan. which make it appear very gay and magnificent. Rochia Sultan Begam the present king’s sister but unmarried. I will record the chief of these palaces in order. Wazir Khan (5.000 horse). It is just a translation of Pelsaert's Remonstrantie of 1626.. Baqar Khan (3..Remonstrantie was written in 1626 . Itiqad Khan. ". because everyone has tried to be close to the river bank and consequently the waterfront is occupied by the costly palaces of all the famous lords. Khwaja Abdal Hasan (5. Tzoaeghpoera a large enclosure inhabited by the widows of the late King Akbar. the exceedingly handsome and costly palace of Asaf Khan (8. Jehangir's India by W H Moreland was published. Moreland tells us. Moreland translated from the manuscript in Holland. Mirza Aboussagiet (1.000 horse). who was married to Muzaffar Khan (formerly King of Gujarat).000 horse). Khwaja Bansi. The book has nothing to do with Jehangir.000 horse).10 1/2 English miles].” 57 ." Palaces on the river bank In 1925..He had mastered the language of the country.
or royal bastion of the Fort…. [It seems that Sir R C temple who compiled Mundy’s Travels in 1914 was aware of Pelsaert and does refer to him in his footnotes and includes him in the bibliography. He simply includes Moreland’s above book in his bibliography at the back of his book. even though it was made available in English in 1925. the late Raja Mansingh (5.000) horse). Khan Alam (5.] THAT IS CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE. 1971 But Gascoigne also does not want to know what Agra was like in 1626.” " On the other side of the river is a city named Sikandra.000 horse). They do not want to touch this aspect at all.000 horse).000 horse). son of Khan Azam (3.” “After passing the Fort there is Nakhas. Jahan Khan (2. such as Mirza Abdulla.“Then begins the Shahburj. That is why they do not refer to this report. This is the truth unpalatable to the Historians. Thus the 10 ½ mile stretch of the river bank was full of palaces. a great market. We have found reference to above book Jehangir's India by W H Moreland in only one book – The Great Mughals by Bamber Gascoigne.000 horse).” [ Number of horses indicate rank of the nobleman] Pelsaert’s Report was prepared in 1626. well built and populated.000 horse).. provost of king’s army (3. but chiefly by banian merchants. Raja Bet Singh (3. Raja Madho Singh (2.000 horse). Aga Nur. he too does not want to know the palaces on the river bank.000 horse) Mahabat Khan (8. Mirza Khurram son of Khan Azam (2. Alas.. five years before the lady (Mumtaz) died... But why? 58 .000 horse). beyond it lie the houses of some great lords. We have already seen a confession in Badshahnama that Shahjahan grabbed Raja Mansingh’s Palace (which was one of the palaces listed by Pelsaert) for burying his wife Mumtaz.
p45 * 1859 . For example. While standing on this terrace. p180] ----------------Did any one else notice these palaces mentioned by Pelsaert? Some did. - Due to various reasons. 1888. for example in * 1845 . p69 59 . 10 miles) and on either bank are delightful villas and pleasant stretches of meadow. Keene Handbook to Agra.e.A Visit to India. above description of Agra is tallied by records of Akbar’s times. p340. they simply ignore Pelsaert’s report even though it was translated into English in 1925. “From this terrace are seen the Jumna flowing below a large expanse of luxuriant gardens .a part of the city of Agra .and all the fine residences of the omrahs erected on the banks of the river. if you look up stream on the river Yamuna (Jumna) and then. Many were demolished during the famine works of 1838 when the Strand Road was constructed.Travels in India by a German Captain Leopold von Orlich. "Agra is a large city and possesses a healthy climate. 1897. " [Ain-e-Akbari. Raja Mansingh’s palace being the last but one. The visitors therefore noticed ruins of former palaces. Translated by Prof H F Blochman & H S Jarrett. as recorded. Strange enough. 1826. part II. (i.] Many authors have referred to Bernier. China and Japan by Bayard Taylor.Well. The earliest English translation was in 1671. Bernier. the 10 ½ mile stretch of river bank in Agra was full of palaces.the fortress . pp29/30. So. unknowingly. That is the truth the historians do not wish to accept. the French Doctor who stayed at Aurangzeb’s court for seven years (1658-65) did notice them when he visited Taj.” [Ref – Travels in the Mughal Empire – F Bernier. The river Jumna flows through it for five kos. Shahjahan’s official chronicle Badshshnama clearly confesses that Shahjahan grabbed that Raja Mansingh’s palace for burial of his wife Mumtaz. He says that there is a huge terrace (4 ft above the garden level). the palaces had become disused.
His report was used by De Laet Joannes..e. camels.. Zehenna Chan.” (We are not concerned with who Raja Bhoj was) 1874 In 1874. Director of Dutch East India Company in Holland. in Latin published in 1631. 1896 60 . Radzia Bartzing. Mirza Chrom. he describes Agra City of 1630 [i. Again as bearing on the other side of the argument I have now to mention that. and all kinds of merchandise are sold. in his book in Latin – De Imperio Magni Mogolis in 1631. oxen..everyone has been anxious to have immediate access to the river and all have consequently built their houses on the bank. On pages 14 and 15. where horses. mentioned by Pelsaert was in existence in 1872.....e.. Red Fort] one emerges on a large market..... the successor of Guhila or Sri Gohadit of Gelhote dynasty of Mewar. [i. Archaeological Survey of India Report for the Year 1871-72 was prepared by M/s Beglar (on Delhi) and Carllyle (on Agra) In volume II Mr Carlleyle tells us :p 4 " ... there is the site of an ancient garden palace called the garden and palace of Raja Bhoj! Certain intelligent educated Hindus in Agra say that it is traditionally held to have been a palace of Raja Bhoj of Malwa of the fifth to sixth century.The palaces named above were also mentioned by others. He says. 1872 Palace of Raja Bhoj. before the death of Mumtaz] as given in De Laet Joanne's book Empire of the Great Moghul.” * Pelsaert was a Senior Dutch Factor who was stationed at Agra during 1620 –27. I am. Let us examine them in the year order. but at any rate all agree as to the fact that this garden palace of Raja Bhoj was in existence previous to the Muhammadan conquest of this part of the country. Mahabot Khan. on the right bank of the river about three miles above the fort.. inclined to think that the Raja Bhoj who built this garden palace at Agra may have been the Bhoja..On leaving the royal citadel. Keene's Handbook to Agra (revised edition) was published... Then follow the palaces of Mirza Abdulla. ".. Radzia Mantzing. Chan Alem. however. Aga Nours.
1905 Agra District Gazetteer gives some information. the palaces of Todar Mal and Mahabat Khan in the same neighbourhood. the dargah of Jalal-ud-din Bukhari. Factor of (English) East India Company. the Shish Mahal or Deorhi Sahibji. a considerable ruin by the water's edge. in a garden known as the Bagh Khan-i-Alam and used as a nursery for plants. author of Badshah Nama and Mohammad Saleh. a red sandstone palace with a wall terminating towards the river in two domed towers half a mile below the fort on the right hand side of the road. 1896. and beyond the latter. old houses and foundations. who rose high in the service of Jahangir. were encountered and had to be removed by gunpowder. Among them were the palace of Asaf Khan.H during the reign of Shah Jahan.” They have been also noticed by contemporary historians. The Castle 61 . demolished a few years ago. father of Mumtaz Mahal. When the strand road was in course of construction.A list of palaces is contained in Badshahnama itself (published in 1867). “The space between the fort and the Taj was once studded with villas of the nobility.” (Ref – Agra Historical and Descriptive. a large building. sometimes as much as ten feet thick. who saw these buildings describes them as " row of new houses with arcades resembling those of the principal streets in Delhi. who died in 1057 A. It describes Agra City on page 213 “There were extensive bazars and houses of masonry. Bernier. the stately edifices and superb palaces and garden houses of the Omerahs of the Moghal Empire. while beyond on either side were the gardens and palaces of the nobles. but nothing now remains of them except huge mounds and shapeless masses of earth. close to the burning ghat. the haveli of Rumi Khan. Mulla Abdul Lahori. and built by one Husain Khan of Basrah. Latif tells us in his work of 1896. during his stay in Agra during 1631-33 had noted – pp 207/9 " Agra is scituated on the River Jemina [Jamna]. author of Amal-i-Saleh. standing in front of the fort till its destruction at the time of the mutiny. (1857) when the glacis was cleared. p100) It does need someone who can read Persian to supply further details. extending to the walls of the Taj. Some of these old buildings are known by name.” 1914 * Peter Mundy.
Raja Man Singh and Raja Jai Singh.market]. such as Pores [pur . there stood Mahabat Khan's residence. which exists still.” Maulvi Ahmad worked as a Superintendent in the Collector’s office at Agra. [In a footnote on page 207. Soe that I think to encompasse all would take att least 14 or 15 miles.Murtaza 62 . a crystal palace..” Thus he does mention palaces of Asaf Khan and Mahabat Khan and adds that there were many palaces and gardens of Umraos (Lords).suburb]. He says. as [ those of ] Asaph Ckaun [Asaf Khan]. R C Temple who compiled Mundy’s Travels.The Cittie hath many outstraglinge places. and their Gardens (which are many and faire) on th' other side. Among them was the block. Bazares. now effaced forever. says . He does mention Mahabat Khan’s palace. Mohabutt Ckaum [Mahabat Khan]. Then the following assembled in the palace of Khan Azam for urgent deliberation . we find some interesting information. called Sahibji's Deorhi. Gunjes [ganj. On the left side along the river bank. “Half a mile off from the Fort.Asaf Khan’s was blown up in 1857-1858. On page 15. the palaces mentioned again XXIII Death of Akbar and Accession of Jahangir (Oct. Near the Burning Ghat were the mansions of Raja Todar Mal. there was on the right side of the Strand road. The large walled garden of Mahabat Khan still exists] 1924 Maulvi Moin-ud-din Ahmad revised his 1905 book and gave it the title The Taj and its environments. A little way on. etc. How did he know that the palace of Raja Mansingh has been effaced forever? 1928 In a Dutch book we found. 1605) “The chief Ommeran who were present at the King's death bed. yieldinge a most delectable prospecte. great Amrawes [umra]. beyond which lay the shrine of Saiyad Jalal Uddin Bukhari. shut all the gates of the fortress of Agra as soon as he was dead. houses and gardens were to be seen in an unbroken line from the Fort to the Taj. and set a faithful officer to guard each of them. Roomi Khan's dwelling close to the Bukhara ghat.and great mens howses on th' one side.
. the four smaller domes. This led to serious leaks all over the buildings.. 1928.172 Thus.The Empire of the Great Mogols . it was translated by Archaeological Survey of India. Hoyland.171. Bombay. Murtaza Khan went to prince Salim and congratulated him on attaining the dignity of kingship. It was grabbed by Shahjahan for burial of his wife Mumtaz. whither he was brought in a boat. Shah Jahan. One of them (last but one) was Late Raja Mansingh’s palace. Mr M S Vats.by De Laet Joanne. It has been repaired but it remains to be seen during the ensuing rainy season how far the operations have proved successful... However Raja Mansingh conducted Sultan Khusru to his own (i. saying.” “The domes of the Mosque and Jama'at Khana leaked during the rains 63 .e. Publisher D B Taraporewala & Co. " the dome of the holy tomb leaked in two places towards the north during the rainy season and so also the fair semi-domed arches. Jahangir) being now supported by the chief Ommerau. Saiyed Khan. 1631 Translated by J S. many of the galleries on the second storey. the four northern compartments and the seven arched underground chambers which have developed cracks” “During the rains last year the terrace over the main dome also leaked in two or three places. Raja Ram Das and Raja Mansjngh. accompanied by his Ommerau. wherein he points out defects in the dome and vaults of the mausoleum. Selim(i.e. This example was followed by Nabab Tzaeyeil-chan and his relative Coulie Marnet-chan and soon afterwards Khan Azam joined them. ---------------------------------Leaking Taj Mahal It may sound strange but a letter of 1652 from Prince Aurangzeb to His father Shahjahan exists. In 1946.. . Shahjahan stripped that palace of all its gold and silver. Mansingh’s) palace through the gate which opens on the river. Pelsaert’s list of palaces is confirmed by other sources. ” Ref . entered the fort and conveyed the body of his father on foot outside the fort. their Superintendent tells us " The earliest record of its repairs is available in a letter dated 1652 A D from Prince Aurangzeb to his imperial father. Qulich Muhammad Khan. pp 170.Khan..
the semi-domed arches.and were made watertight. 1946. This resulted in neglect of maintenance and had caused severe damage also. pp 4-7] This letter indicates that Taj Mahal was leaking all over the place. Is not 1652 the very year when Taj Mahal is generally said to have been completed? Yes. They could hardly be blamed for leakages in the ancient buildings. but they say that they are unable to suggest any measures of repairs to the main dome. Then Aurangzeb must have been furious with the Master Architect Ustad Isa and his master builders/ masons. I (author) have personally witnessed the damage to existing buildings caused while modifying some London Underground Railway stations. footnote 2) Have historians taken any notice of this letter? No. On the other hand.” [Ancient India. What punishment did he mete out to them for such shoddy workmanship? Absolutely nothing.. The master builders are of the opinion that if the roof of the second storey is re-opened and dismantled and treated afresh with concrete over which half a yard of mortar grout is laid. the galleries and the smaller domes will probably become watertight.. Ustad Isa and others. Why? The obvious reason must be that Shahjahan had plundered all the gold and silver articles in Taj Mahal involving extensive vandalism. Where do we find the Persian text of Aurangzeb’s letter? It was published in Muraqqa-I-Akabarabadi edited by Said Ahmad of Agra in 1931 (page 43. he pleads that his father should pay attention to more permanent repairs. though branded as architects and master builders were merely ordinary labourers. The recently published works are – 64 . He does not mention Ustad Isa at all.
000 ft (north. But that name implies that a small statue of Lord Ganesh would be found in a recess above the door. there is a gateway called Shree Darwaza. This name is used even by Muslim authors. They do not have the courage to admit that they have been fooled all along.* Splendours of the East by Sir Mortimer Wheeler (G Weidenfield and Nicolson. Out of the blue. London 1965) * Great Mughals by Bamber Gascoigne (Jonathan Cape. But what about other historians? They too have not taken any notice of Aurangzeb’s letter! Why? We are all afraid of losing face. London 1981) None of these give even a hint of such a letter. With this knowledge. However. --------------------Ground plan of Taj Mahal It is strange that there is no official plan of Taj Mahal complex which. covers 3. London 1971) * India discovered by John Keay (Windward publication. a clue to the Archaeological Survey of India report of 1946 was given in 1973 in the book The Peacock Throne by Waldemar Hansen (page 181) May be the British attitude has not changed. in 1909 a partial plan appeared in H G Keene’s Handbook to Agra What do we find in it? On the south. What do we see? 65 .000 ft. Historians are no exception. in the centre. let us now turn to the structure itself.south) by 1.
The recess for Lord Ganesh is there. * Anything else? In the South East corner. If we go to the famous Ambabai Temple in Kolhapur. 66 . But it is quite common to find them in the precincts of Hindu Temples or Palaces. They are an integral part of Hindu Palace / temple. but his small statue has been thrown out. It is quite common to have such wells in North India. (see report for the year 1900) A cow stable has nothing to do with a mausoleum. These are quite comfortable during hot summer days. * There is also a Baoli Burj.Music galleries. These are called Nakkar (Nagar) Khanas. Once again they are not compatible with Mausoleum. Drums are beaten by the devotees at the time of worship / prayers. Many times music is played on Shahanai and Chaughada. and one in the West wall. we find a Gaushala – cow stable. * What else? There are two buildings. but are quite appropriate for a Hindu palace or a temple. Nagara means Drums. we see a Nagarkhaha as a part of the temple. The terms Gaushala and Gaushala Burj are found in the records of Archaeological Survey of India Reports. Nagarkhanas are . one in the East wall. both two storied. What are the Nagarkhanas doing in a tomb? They clearly indicate that originally Taj Mahal was a Hindu structure. They have rooms at several levels. It is quite normal to play instrumental music in the mornings and evenings.
even on Buckingham Palace. We should remember that there are at least two stories below the so called ‘Real Grave’ chamber. But even the so called ‘Real Graves’ in the chamber below are fakes.Ground Plan of Taj Mahal Hidden basements and basement rooms But what about the tombs of Mumtaz and Shahjahan? Tombs can be planted on any building. Let us see. We then climb 22 steps in the Marble plinth 19ft high. We then go down 21 steps (16ft) to see the so called ‘Real Graves’. After 4 more steps we come to another plinth (3ft). red sandstone terrace 4 ft higher. Unfortunately no one counts the number of steps and we just get carried away by what the Tourist Guides tell us. We have thus climbed 27 feet. how From garden level we climb steps to come to a huge. We are therefore 11 ft above the garden level. after climbing another 2 steps (1ft) we enter the Cenotaph chamber. 68 . How? The deception is caused by geometry. We all know that the tombs in the Cenotaph chamber are fakes.
1950 Murray’s Handbook for Travellers to India was edited by 1901 History of Architecture by Sir Bannister Fletcher was published. He tampers with the above cross-section further and creates an impression that there is nothing around the ‘so called’ Real Graves. The best way to see them is to get out of Taj Mahal. He does re-produce the above cross-section. Some authors have provided more details as below 1855 Illustrated Handbook of Architecture etc by James Fergusson was published. no one even mentions it!! J Burgess. On page 437 he does provide a cross-section (drawn to scale) through the central edifice and show the two basements. If we walk to the riverside. However.Why don’t we see them? We can. former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India. From the Cenotaph Chamber we need to come down on the main terrace. but removes the second basement. stand by the railing and look down we do see these stories. walk to the riverside and then look up. 69 . Now. that is deliberately misleading lay public. He did not say how he got cross-section and after Fergusson. it is still clear that there is a basement around the ‘so called’ Real Graves chamber.
In 1901. J Burgess repeats cross-section by Fergusson but deletes one basement floor completely 70 .
Is there any more information on the hidden rooms? Yes there is.e.In 1950. pp 173-175 Reader would understand that Archaeological Survey of India would not. The steps take us to some 17 ft below the so called ‘real grave’ chamber level. published from Hyderabad.e. On the other side of this corridor and at either end of it. “….. India.Subterranean Chambers of Taj Mahal. On 9 April 1972 Mr Hari Indersingh Kanwar was invited by Mr W H Siddiqui. to the chamber under the so called real grave chamber. There is also a central blocked up doorway. At the foot of the staircase runs a 5 ft 8 inch wide corridor 300 ft long east-west.” Ref . A little distance away there was evidence of another excavation. are two blocked up doorways and these lead to two corridors 300 ft apart and running north-south. it gave the appearance of a sort of entrance for entry into interior lying further South (i. we see two staircase openings nearly 350 ft apart. of course. There are similar rooms under the so called Mosque and so called Jawab but entrances to them from the corridor are blocked up. Mr Kanwar reported. In the above article. Yet another storey below is completely unexplored. Sir Bannister Fletcher goes further and creates an impression that there is nothing around the so called ‘real grave chamber’ Moreover. apart and running north-south. On the riverside of this corridor we find 21 rooms varying in size from 11ft by 20ft to 22ft by 20ft. in the Main terrace. deputy Superintending Archaeologist of Agra to witness some explorations in Taj Mahal.) …. (i. article in the Magazine Islamic Culture. there are two corridors 300 ft. Mr Kanwar agrees that there are more Basement 71 . July 1974 issue. invite persons like me or Mr Oak to be present during their excavations. We observed the exposed portion of the wall and from the manner in which the red sandstone slabs had been arranged. which leads to the chamber under the real grave chamber.However from what one can make of the two excavations stated above it would appear that there were doors or points of entry in the southern perimeter of corridor. But the entrances to them are blocked up). behind the central edifice.
Shahjahan had sealed them with slabs matching with the terrace pavement. Whether they originally opened on to a ghat and gave admittance to the Taj from the river. under its terrace. The 1902 Annual Report of the N W Provinces Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India contains a plan of the Taj Mahal. From each end of the lobby a staircase ascends to the terrace of the Great Basement. " Let the arched gallery be exposed by opening the line of arches along the riverside wall and it would immediately enhance the charm and beauty of the Taj Mahal. and each of them is connected by a doorway with an inner lobby running East and West along their entire length. where its entrance. cannot be explored without a torch or lamp. There is absolutely nothing in the Annual Reports (or any other reports) of the Archaeological Survey of India. 7th edition re-written by E A Duncan and published in 1909. The only exception is Keene’s Handbook for visitors to Agra. being now in darkness and infested by bats. were used as cool resorts during the heat of the day.rooms on the riverside which are still blocked up and says. closed by red sandstone slab. the clue being given by a small window overlooking the river in each of the two easternmost rooms. cannot now be 72 . until discovered a few years ago. Then surely there must be some record of the discovery. The rooms are however mentioned in the Urdu edition of the History of the Taj by Moin-ud-din Ahmad in 1904. After all the British Rulers were well known for keeping meticulous records. lay unsuspected. “THE BASEMENT ROOMS are centrally situated as a line of fourteen rooms along the river-face of the Great Basement. What does he say? On page 177 he says. Each entrance is now guarded by a low lattice rail of red sandstone. or being provided with windows. The rooms once frescoed and otherwise decorated. Thus these openings were discovered in or around 1903. But it does not show these openings." Were these staircase openings and the 21 rooms always open? NO. And every British author has been silent on this discover ever since.
They were not shut. Mr Kanwar tells us. So. and it is possible that this series of curious chambers provided an opportunity for indulging in hide and seek games . There are steps from it to the river level. pp 35-36. was exposed in 1934 and was visible as late as 1964 but lies hidden under the deposits again today.” [Notes : There is a platform 3 ft 6 inch wide running along the river front. The Jumna has often inundated the riverside rooms at Itimad-ud-daula. there are rooms in the North East and North West towers which are 17 ft lower than above rooms. then went under the deposits.an interesting pastime with some of the rulers. when this writer discussed the matter with persons who professed to known the manner in which these underground rooms could have been utilised I was told that some of these chambers might have been used for storing provisions and refreshments to be served during the Emperor's visits. Water would need to rise by 25 feet to flood these rooms. 1905.” (History of Taj. Other rooms were probably used for temporary storage of equipment-such as utensils to warm the provisions. "The real object of building them remains a mystery. From time to time. Why did it take them 100 years to realise that there are basement rooms? ] But what could be the purpose of these Basement Rooms? Maulavi Moin-ud-din Ahmad is baffled. may have led to their being closed up. If the former. Did it ever rise so much? Moreover. 73 . an article published in Islamic Culture July 1974 issue. Some 60 years later.) We find no explanation in Keene’s book of 1909 either.] * The English East India Company captured Agra from Maharaja Shinde of Gwalior in 1803. they may possibly have at some time been inundated by a high flood in the river. He confesses. ". and tents and shamianas. and this threatened danger to the foundations of the Tomb.Subterranean Chambers of Taj Mahal. It was seen in 1825. Keene’s assumption seems to be wrong. The presence of sand on their floors somewhat favours this view. it lies hidden under river deposits.decided.” Ref . It is 17 ft below the floor level of the Basement rooms. published from Hyderabad (India).
and therefore these are all ‘hush-hush’ for the Archaeological Survey of India. but of a Hindu Temple / Palace grabbed by Shahjahan. Moreover.p168. Authors have to resort to such absurd explanations because these rooms were not a part of mausoleum. ---------------------There is yet another mystery. the Red Fort. Mr Kanwar conveniently forgets that there are 15 rooms in the marble plinth. the place of Royal residence is only a mile away. What? If we look very carefully at the cross-section of Taj Mahal provided by Fergusson in 1855 we do find these rooms!! 74 . just 4 ft above garden level. These are available for storage.
The discovery of the Basement Rooms should have made the British Archaeologists more inquisitive. how could the opening up of basements under the so called ‘Real Grave’ chamber be stopped? What would have happened if they were to discover that Taj Mahal is not a tomb? So what? The British authorities were actively upholding all unreasonable demands of Muslims against the Hindus ever since the Great War of Independence of 1857-59 (Archaeological Survey of India was established in 1861). the Viceroy detached some districts from Punjab and created a new separate Muslim majority province of North West Frontier Province (NWFP). my friend! How could any one explain the basements below the so called Mosque and a storey above it? And once the ball starts to roll. Let us look at the chronology of events – Year 1901 Date Event Lord Curzon. 75 . What could have prevented them from further exploring? Elementary.No survey of Taj Mahal by Archaeological Survey of India What you say is rather odd.
is obvious enough. ASI divided its various " circles " (i. Morley Minto reforms – separate electorates were granted to Muslims.1903 7 December 1905 1906 16 October 1 October 30 December 1909 1910 Lord Curzon. pleading that Muslims should be treated as separate from Hindus. divisions) into two sections -: (1) Muhammadan and British Monuments (2) Hindu and Buddhist Monuments Thus. Lord Curzon puts into effect the partition of Bengal Agakhan’s infamous petition to Lord Minto the new Viceroy. Didn’t the British undertake any survey of the Taj Mahal then? 76 . declares his intention to partition Bengal to create a Muslim majority province of East Bengal. thus creating another Muslim majority province 1935 1947 15 August India was partitioned and granted independence The reason for the British not carrying out any further exploration of the Taj Mahal. Muslims were made equal to British! Sindh was separated from Bombay province.e. Muslim League was started in Dacca.
“. But this was merely accidental. 1843) When Hodgson came to the Taj Mahal.” (p50) If Shahjahan really built the Taj Mahal. When Hodgson checked them. He simply wanted to establish the relationship between the Indian guz (measure of length) and the British Yard for the purposes of land survey.. Survey of Taj Mahal One Col Hodgson of the Bengal Army did take some measurements in 1825. He published his findings in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Volume 7. he got very inconsistent results. why should there be any need to fabricate such a manuscript? 77 . The document in the possession of the attendant is evidently the fabrication of an impostor. He says in his report. the attendant there said that he had in his possession a Persian Manuscript which gave various dimensions of the structure.Let us see.
“ It must be remembered that this is not a temple but a tomb.Survey of Taj Mahal by Col Hodgson In Appendix ‘C’. why did he have to assert that it was not a temple but a tomb? Had he come to know some details or information himself which he deliberately withheld mentioning to maintain the current 78 . ” When no one had expressed any doubts about the true nature of the Taj Mahal. in 1843. Hodgson describes the Taj Mahal and says.
along the river front). Hodgson produces a plan of the Taj Mahal (p42) but does not say who carried out the survey. but the tombs of Satiunnisa Khanum (in the south-east corner) and Sarhani Begum (in the south-west corner) are not shown in the plan. The area (1000 ft by 430ft) between Taj Ganj Gate and the Great Entrance Gate is called Jilo khana (pleasure house). What does the plan show? Hodgson names the various buildings as mentioned in Shahjahan Nama by Muhammad Salah Kumbo. and running further to the east as far as the mihrab projection of the Jawab. There is also a Baoli Burj 80 ft south of the so called Mosque. There is a platform about four ft wide running from north-east tower to north-west tower (i. It was discovered during some repairs undertaken in 1936-37. Khan Bahadur Maulavi Zafar Hasan of Archaeological Survey of India tells us.legend? Yes.e. That is quite possible. The building on east side of central edifice is called mehmankhana (guest house). This was 79 . " Another interesting feature revealed in the river-side wall is a platform at the plinth level projecting 3 ft 6 inches beyond it. The name Baoli clearly implies a deep well with several rooms at several floor levels. What happened to the platform? It lay hidden under the heaps of silt and debris accumulated over the years. In appendix C Hodgson produces extracts from the Shahjahan Nama. but there is no mention of Mumtaz or her tomb or the Taj Mahal! Also. All these structures are highly irrelevant in and around a tomb. There are two flights of 15 steps from this platform on to the river.
The temple is still known as Talyatala Ganapati (Ganesh temple inside a lake).hidden under the heaps of silt and debris.. To quote an example. where boating is quite appropriate. the famous spot Saras Bagh in Pune (Poona) was maintained as a lake where the Maratha Peshwas used to go for boating. Area of lake is 20. in the course of repairs to the foundation wells under the north-west bastion. There are temple-cum-recreation centres.. The whole platform was seen as late as 1960-61 80 . Hindus have built many temples on the river banks. ” “A staircase in each of the north-east and north-west bastions gives access to the river.A few stone rings built into the masonry under the platform apparently for mooring of boats have also been discovered. No one would go for boating next to the burial place of one's beloved person. There is a temple of Shree Ganesh in the lake. The temple is still there.” Ref – Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India . but the lake has dried up. including stone rings for anchoring boats.. the accumulation of ages. pp 3/4 [Note : What Maulavi Hasan says above is yet another indication that Taj Mahal is a temple-palace.000 sq ft. 1936-37. (Plate I.] What happened to the above platform after 1936-37? Once again it lies hidden under the heaps of silt and debris.000 sq ft and the area of temple is 2.. ” “It may be safely concluded that the platform was intended as a landing stage and this view receives support from the remains of an old ghat where boats used to be kept. a)” “.. until it was incidentally brought to notice this year. But part of it can still be seen around the north-east corner.. that provision for it was made in the scheme and that it was a favourite pastime of the Mughal Emperors. and the indications detailed above together with the profuse decoration of the river-side wall tend to show that boating in the Jumna had been in view when the Taj was designed.
p 39 " The false Mosque is as fine as the true. H G Keene. It is appropriated to the use of travellers and parties of pleasure ” What the tourists see of this building is an open hall with wall on east side only. In his Handbook for visitors to Agra. 81 . 1825 1835 1836 1874 Then where did they stay? Good question. he calls the building on the east of the central edifice – Mehmankhana.Stones for anchoring boats Hidden Rooms in ‘so called’ Mosque and Jawab Going back to Col Hodgson’s paper of 1843. Didn’t the British use the building as such? Yes. The guests must be staying either in the storey above or in the storeys below. Floor area at each level is 190ft by 80ft. Fanny Parks. a guest house. We find confession to that effect in 1874. Col Sleeman. All these rooms are now locked up or are blocked. Keene says. They did. This fact was noted by the following visitors Col Hodgson.
How did Ferguson obtain the cross-section? Neither Fergusson nor any one else has answered this simple question! ------------What did ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA do? Who was in charge of the Archaeological Survey of India? General Cunningham was the Archaeological Surveyor in 1861. Director during 1862-65. he did not even visit this monument! 82 . One would have thought that an extensive archaeological survey of Taj Mahal would have been his first priority. The building on the West of the central edifice – called Mosque. Has any one drawn a cross-section? Yes. is identical with Mehmankhana. There can be no doubt that the British officers sealed these storeys.When was renting of the rooms stopped? It was stopped by 1905 according to Agra District Gazetteer. Cross-section of Taj Mahal Col Hodgson’s paper of 1843 contains a plan of Taj Mahal. but the facts are otherwise. Are there similar rooms in the Mosque as well? Yes. How? Cunningham never surveyed Taj Mahal. and Director General during 1871-1885. the department was suspended during 1865-70. These rooms can be clearly seen in the sketch of Capt R Elliot published in 1861. But the Archaeological Survey of India was not started till 1861. As we have already mentioned. Fergusson produced the northsouth cross section of the central edifice in 1855. And the stories in it too are similarly blocked or locked up.
” There you are! Not quite. Facts which prove that the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed. …. “Buddhism and its archaeology was therefore to be studied for the cause of promoting Christianity. But why? It must be for political reasons. (such explorations) would be an undertaking of vast importance to the Indian Government politically. The letter was written at Aligarh on 15 September 1842 and read at the society on 3 December 1842. when he was a Lieutenant in Bengal Engineers. Let alone any survey of it. …. Way back in 1842.. 83 . a Pakistani historian comments.” [Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1966. Volume VII of 1843.Really? Yes. Do we find any interesting information in the annual reports of Archaeological Survey of India? Yes. one of the Directors of the East India Company. and to the British public. Though Cunningham remained in charge of ASI for further 14 years. Cunningham wrote to Col Sykes. In all his publications he does not even mention Taj Mahal.] Abu Imam. he never published the said plan and sections.” [Alexander Cunningham and Indian Archaeology by Abu Imam. On page 67 of Volume II Carlleyle tells us – Taj Mahal “General Cunningham informed me that he had already in his possession a complete ground plan and sections and all measurements and particulars of this building. “ …. The report for 1871-72 was prepared by M/s Beglar (on Delhi) and Carlleyle (on Agra). We do.
” Unbelievable! * Another 9 years passed. Cunningham also seems to have instructed his successors to keep quiet about Taj Mahal. former ICS officer admitted – No official survey is available. has not had time to study the 84 . Really? The facts speak for themselves. There are no cross-sections. In the report we find – Gaushala Burj – 376 ft of marble bordering was renewed. Gaushala – This building was in a very dilapidated and dangerous condition. Sir Mortimer Wheeler was the last British Director General of ASI (194448). But this is no different from the 1825 map of Col Hodgson. we find “ … Taj Mahal – as yet un-surveyed…. And again there are no cross-sections! * In 1885 Cunningham retired. They all ensured that Archaeological survey of Taj Mahal was NOT done. Vincent Smith. Once again it is no different from the 1825 plan of Col Hodgson. 20 years passed after Carlylle’s report (see above). Note – Gaushala is a Sanskrit word for a large cow stable. politics and archaeology go hand in hand. “The Archaeological Survey of India. In the 1891 Annual Report of the North-West Provinces Circle. he says. * In the Annual Report of 1902 of the United Provinces Circle. In another footnote. He was succeeded by J Burgess (188589) Sir John Marshall was the Director General of ASI during 1902 to 1931.pp40-41] So. In the Annual Report of the same circle (year 1900) we find a plan of Taj Mahal prepared by two Executive Engineers M/s Joseph and Lall. * In 1915. since its reorganisation. we again find a plan of Taj Mahal prepared by Executive Engineer Polwhele.
Atla Devi Mosque and Vijay Mandir Mosque are all officially part of Islamic Architecture.. which add to our knowledge? Yes. edited by V A Smith. page 207 ] In other words. 1874. Sita ki Rasoi. p137. Did any other travellers produce any maps or plans.R. except for conservation purposes. The surveyors were now forbidden by Government order to indulge in arguments and speculations based on the spelling of names and similar considerations as to the identity of persons.Taj buildings. " Yes Sir! ” They must not ask " Why should Muslims do such a stupid thing and not just throw away the idol and use the temple as a mosque?” In this connection we should note that Sir Sayyad Ahmad. The report by Mr Carlylle on the minor remains at and near Agra in A. 1966.A Hindu temple was destroyed and a grand mosque built on the same site.. Ref : Alexander Cunningham and Indian Archaeology by Abu Iman. ". if the big chief says.” (Ref – Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official. founder of the Aligad movement had stated that Qutb Minar is a Hindu structure. Public Service Commission of 1887.S. The plan in Daniell’s book of 1801 is far more detailed than any of the above plans. “In 1885 the ASI was reorganised. page 29. This how far gagging of ASI employees went. footnote on p358) Was there a gag on employees of the ASI? Yes there was. ” [Resolution No. but Sir Alexander Cunningham overruled and said that it was an Islamic structure. is almost worthless. Quoted in the proceedings of the sub-committee. vol iv. tribes etc. the surveyors must say. Who were the Daniells? 85 . using the same materials and following the same Hindu construction as before. It is interesting to note that Adinath Mosque. 1915. 2-87-103 dated 6th June 1885 Governor General in Council. palaces.
They stayed in India during 1786-1794. p 46] And still on pages 151-156 Sarkar ascribes the tomb in the south-west corner to Satiunnisa Khanum How can he do this without any proof? Well. They did not have time. resources or training for preparing such a detailed map. Padshshnama. Aurangabadi. In 1801. Such a suggestion is absurd. we find the tomb of Futtehporee and in the place of tomb of Sarhani Begum (south-east corner). Fatehpuri. [Strange enough. we see tomb of Akbarabadee. Who prepared the plan? It is difficult to say. drawn to guz scale (1 7/12 inches to 100 guz or R. It contains two good views and plan of Taj Mahal. …” [Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and other Historical Essays.Thomas Daniell and his nephew William Daniell were painters. Fanny Parks who visited Taj Mahal in 1835 also mentions tombs of Fatehpuree and Akbarabadee] May be Satiunnisa Khanum was known as Futtehporee. 1912. Hence we have ladies surnamed Akbarabadi.“ … Akbar made it a rule that the concubines of Mughal Emperors should be named after the places of their or the towns in which they were admitted to the harem. (Waris.F 1/2182). they published their sketches in Oriental Scenery. energy. Zainabadi and Udaipuri. and Sarhani Begum was known as Akbarabadee. It has some interesting details. A well-known historian tells us. Such as? Bogus tombs In place of the tomb of Satiunnisa Khanum (south-west corner). After returning to England. he did it and the British knighted him (He became a Sir) 86 . by Jadunath Sarkar. Daniells stayed at Taj Mahal for only 2 days. p456). They were invited to visit India by the (English) East India Company. they published a book entitled Views of the Taje Mahal at the city of Agra in Hindoostan taken in 1789.
On his return journey he tells us.. Calcutta. What other intriguing details do we find in the above map? About 150 ft north of either side of the above tombs. and surrounding them are several Pawn bazaars. We must now ask ourselves. He did not! The tombs themselves are nameless.. “Are these tombs even real?” They are 12 ft above ground. And when Col Hogdson surveyed Taj Mahal in 1825 he did not find the mention of tombs of Futtehporee and Akbarabadee in Shahjahanama of Muhammad Salah Kumbo? That is right. late principal of School of Art. does not mention them in his Handbook of Agra (1904). neatly delineated with red 87 . E B Havell. There are markets for silks and scented oils. The walls of Taj extend to 1. p 256 ". but they did exist.And the same applies to tomb of Sarhani Begum? Yes. Do historians conceal this fact? * They certainly do. How do you know that? Thomas Twining. I purchased also an accurate map of Delhi. * Encyclopaedia Britannica has not mentioned them for the last 150 years. Twining left Delhi on 6 December 1794.. an employee of the (English ) East India Company visited Taj Mahal. we see apartments for female attendants to the ‘Ladies of Rank ’. have kitchens attached to them and sit on high octagonal plinths! Moreover the tomb of Maid has more decorations than that of the Queen. Agra and Delhi in 1794.000 ft south and enclose a huge market place extending over 23 acres. Do we find similar maps in any other contemporary books? I have not found them yet..
. Moreover. The palace itself would serve as a mausoleum very well. surely there must be many more copies.. and in various Indian mediaeval town layouts as reflected in the design of such comparatively modern Indian town as Jaipur. we are faced with the fact that neither Peter Mundy (of English East India Company) nor Badshahnama 88 ... PLANNING AND LAYOUT How? Prof Calude Batley. ] What you say is very interesting. the planning and construction of the Taj Mahal is entirely in accordance with the texts on Hindu architecture. former Professor of Architecture at the J J School of Arts.and black lines on fine paper of a yellow hue. Mcilvaine and Co of London.” [The Design Development of Indian Architecture by Claude Batley. published in 1893 by J R Osgood. As Twining was Governor of Bihar (1802-1805) it will be most surprising if copies of this map are not found. Bombay writes. But even the India Office Library and the British Museum Library do not have any copies.] [Note : If a chance visitor could go to a local market in Agra and buy an accurate map of Taj Mahal in 1794. in the magnificent temple-town plans of South India. and erect another building in its place. but is it not possible that Shahjahan destroyed Raja Mansignh’s palace and built Taj Mahal on top of it? But why should he do that? Having forcibly occupied Raja Mansingh’s palace. pxii] It would be quite absurd to suggest that Shahjahan demolished Raja Mansingh’s palace and built a structure on it exactly in accordance with the Hindu architectural texts. there was no need for Shahjahan to demolish it. “… The fact that such planning is certainly indigenous to India can be traced in the layout of the simplest temple." [Ref: Travels in India a Hundred Years Ago by Thomas Twining. 1934. Moreover. I Already possessed a similar one of Agra and another of the Taje (Taj Mahal).
There is thus no way out but to accept the painful truth that Taj Mahal is not a mausoleum built by Shahjahan but a Hindu Temple Palace usurped by him. two easternmost rooms. passages. Thus what the visitors saw was a colossal vandalism. clue being given by a small window overlooking the river in each of the (Handbook to Agra. uprooted the Hindu motifs as far as he could. corridors. This also has revealed an 89 . There is not a single inscription anywhere in the building complex claiming that Shahjahan built this magnificent structure in the memory of beloved wife Mumtaz. ventilators and the like. where its entrance. the dead lime plaster from inside the dome has been removed only to a height of 10 ft all round except on the west where it has been stripped to the full height of 61 ft . Entrances to these were sealed by Shahjahan.” (2) Arches inside the Dome The Main Dome is in fact a double dome (dome inside a dome). halls. “ a staircase ascends to the terrace of the Great Basement. Vandalism by Shahjahan Let us just take some examples of Shahjahan’s vandalism (1) Basement Rooms There are two stairs to go down to these rooms.mention any demolition. A strange discovery was made in the outer dome in 1946. 1909.. lay unsuspected. closed by red sandstone slab. The reason is obvious enough. staircases. until discovered a few years ago. rooms. due to forces of nature the stone slabs covering the window openings were damaged in course of time and that gave a clue to the existence of these rooms. Mr Vats of Archaeological Survey of India tells us ".. Keene says in 1909. apartments. grafted Koranic inscriptions to give a semblance of a mausoleum and demolished some buildings altogether. The stairs were only discovered in around 1902.. spaced 350 ft apart. sealed several hundreds of chambers.. the p177) In fact. But then what did Shahjahan do? What did the visitors like Mundy. Tavernier and Manrique see? The answer is simple. Shahjahan looted the precious objects.
Our friends will say –‘It’s a Greek Orthodox Church. (3) Koranic inscriptions The trick played by Muslim rulers was revealed in early 1970s near the so called Kutb-Minar in Delhi. as usual. Hide the title again and see how many of your friends can recognise it as a temple. Old decoration stones fell down.interesting feature. (4) Fountains While carrying out some repairs. we see Hindu inscriptions on one side and Koranic inscriptions on the other. plate CXVI Fig I. On page 30 we find – Temple in Bengali style. 1946. Show any one Percy Brown’s Indian Architecture part I. They will all say that it is a Church. This is a four storied building. (5) Main Gateway. Their reply will invariably be – It is a mosque! The same analogy applies here also. two go down to the first floor. In 1924 Maulavi M Ahmad wrote. Hide the title. * The same book of P Brown shows Avantiswami temple on plate CXXXVIII. Dinajpur. pp 4-7] But these arches cannot be seen now because Shahjahan had blocked them all up. See Times of India 25 June 1973. * In 1911.” Just one last point. it is all ‘hush-hush’. Archaeological Survey of India discovered a set of fountains 3 ft below the existing ones. Hide the title and ask your friends to say whether it is a temple or a mosque. It shows Govind Dev Temple in Brindaban. But. Vincent Smith published a book entitled History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon. Why does not Taj look like a Hindu structure? Because we have been brain-washed into thinking that way only. “(After reaching the top floor). the other two are closed in the middle. revealing that the Muslim invaders had just turned the stones in the Hindu memorial inside out. Of the four staircases.’ 90 . Covering the entire surface of the lower part of the drum." [Ancient India. It is quite possible that same has happened in Taj Mahal. there is a regular and continuous series of eight relieving arches which adds to the strength of the structure. So.
and as new facts became known. instead of modifying history of architecture. near Delhi. the Arhai-din ka Jhompra at Ajmer – so called might be and has been described as Jaina temple. (1910 edition) Vol II page 68 “… Be this as it may. even the ones which we have not been told. But then the Great War of Indian Independence 185759 followed. … So might a great part of the mosque at the Qutb. can all can be easily explained. for our present purpose. He assumed that if a building was being used as a mosque or a tomb. the one fact that is certain is that none of them are now Jaina temples. All are Muhammadan mosques and it will therefore be more logical as well as more convenient to group them with the latter rather than with former class of buildings. Like Taj Mahal we must determine who built various structures and then decide what is Hindu or Muslim style of architecture and not be carried away by Fergusson. says on page 74 - History of Taj by Maulvi Moin-ud-din Ahmad was published in 1905. he and others invented more and more absurd theories.” The logic of the father of history of architecture is thus very simple. for the first time in 1855 in his book – Handbook of Architecture. All those temples that are being used as mosques and tombs must be considered as part of Islamic architecture!! THAT IS HOW HE DEFINES ISLAMIC STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE. it must have been built by Muslims. Were it not for this. MYSTERIES GALORE AND EXPLAINED Once we logically conclude and accept that Taj Mahal is not a mausoleum built by Shahjahan but had been a Hindu Temple Palace.These three examples just illustrate how our thinking is moulded by pre-conceived ideas. Style of Architecture One basic flaw needs to be clarified here. We don’t have to accept his version any more. James Fergusson tried to determine various styles of architecture. As a first attempt that assumption was excusable. 91 . He (1) The first Urs of Mumtaz Mahal. let us quote from Fergusson’s History of Indian and Eastern Architecture. As a typical example. several mysteries.
(4) Rooms in Main Gateway In his book The Taj Mahal. Shahjahan grabbed a valuable property of Raja Jaisingh which had untold ornaments and articles of gold and silver. prayers and blessings for the soul of the dead. It took Shajahan nearly six years to strip late Raja Mansingh’s palace (then owned by Mansingh’s grandson Raja Jaisingh) of the huge quantity of gold and silver. 1896. they had all to be made of brick. a commemoration of the demise of a holy man with solemnities. pp103/104) In other words... . if the scaffolding cost more than the entire work we know what ‘work’ was carried out by Shahjahan. He says. It is held annually on the recurrence of the day on which he died. [ Surprise ! Surprise !! ] because.” [but no sadness?] The reason for enthusiasm is obvious. Hence the pleasure and not sadness on the first anniversary of the lady’s death. It is a sort of death anniversary. as well as the supports of the arches. Within one year of death of Mumtaz. “The body was interred in a plot of ground in the midst of which was a beautiful fountain which adorned the garden palace of Zenabad. According to Badshahnama the Urs was held with uncommon enthusiasm.” "Now this ceremony was performed by Shah Jahan in honour of Mumtaz for the first time in 1041 A H..” (Agra Historical and Descriptive. Mr David Carroll says in 1972. ” So. this has entailed much labour and a heavy expenditure. Inside are countless rooms with hallways that wind and divide in such apparent abandon that they seem 92 . Shajahan confiscated yet another garden palace of a Hindu Raja!! (3) Cost of scaffolding In 1889 Dr Valentine Ball translates and edits Tavernier's Travels in India. ". we are told. Why? Latif had provided the answer. under the pretext of burying her." Urs is peculiar to India. Tavernier's well known story is given. the three-storied gate has a colossal archway at the threshold. p 95 " Standing one hundred feet high.It is said that scaffoldings alone cost more than the entire work. On pages 109-111 Book I Chapter VII. In addition.. (2) Burial at Burhanpur We had noted that the lady was buried in an awkward spot. from want of wood.
e.“Strangers (i. and as the Main Gateway was never a part of it. the rooms became redundant and remained unused for three centuries. He (1924) describes the replica of the pinnacle on the main dome. when visiting the Taj. on the upper floor are eight rooms of a similar description.” M Ahmad uses the Sanskrit word Kalas for pinnacle. perhaps they were. South-east and South-west (these are octagonal shaped) directions. South (these are square shaped) and Northeast. are so much occupied in viewing the centre apartment.. (5) Pura and Kalas History of Taj by Moin-ud-din Ahmad was published in 1905. the globe over it 3 3/4 feet.. West. which contains the tombs. that they often omit visiting the eight rooms that surround that central apartment. visitors). Over against the " puras " and West and East respectively from the gate of Mumtazabad lie tombs of Satiunnisa Khanum and Sarhindi Begum. He says p 55 ". It is a delightful pleasure ground. the right base of the crown is 8 1/2 feet.] (6) Forgotten chambers There are eight chambers surrounding the Cenotaph chamber. four of which are square and four of octagonal form. pp 40-41 ".” 93 .The figure of Kalas is exactly copied in black stone inserted in the surface of the platform of the cloister on its (Jawab's) northern side. located in the East.” [It is interesting to note that the Sanskrit word Kalas is used throughout to describe the pinnacle. Fanny Parks who visited Taj Mahal in January / February 1835 had noted. North. They were open to public in 1981 when I visited Taj Mahal. the diameter of the globe 4 1/3. the arc of the crown is 9 2/3 feet and the cord 5 feet. but have been locked since 1990. the neck is 5 1/2 feet... There is also a storey above the cenotaph with similar rooms. for they have remained unused for three centuries and their purpose has long confounded the experts. ” Mr Carroll can’t think of any use of these rooms in a mausoleum.intentionally built to confuse. North-west. Most people are not aware of this.At present the Western "Pura" is filled with flower pots and valuable plants. Half of the other "Pura" is occupied by a cowstable. The whole Kalas is 30 1/2 ft.
Maulavi M Ahmad also reproduces the plan of the central edifice and surrounding chambers. These chambers (rooms) have no purpose in a Mausoleum. These are clearly marked. Fanny Parks even reproduced the ground plan which she copied from an original plan. in his book Taj and its environments. In 1924. but do make sense in the layout of a Temple or a Palace. but it does not show staircase to the upper floor. We see the stairs to the upper floor located in the South East as well as South West chambers.In her book published in 1850. 94 . shown to her at the tomb.
(9) Nagarkhanas (Music Galleries) There are two Nagarkhanas (Nakkarkhanas) in Taj Mahal. As the name implies it has 7 stories with rooms at all the levels. These are quite appropriate in a Hindu Temple or a Palace... is a well called Baoli Burj. He provides us with some interesting details. but not in a mausoleum. “ .. A walk paved with flat red stone led through this grove of perfumes to another range of steps. They make sense in a Hindu Temple or Palace. These rooms are very comfortable in summer. by which I ascended to a magnificent 95 . entrances to these are closed with white marble slabs.Plan of Central Edifice (7) Hidden basements We have discussed these in detail. (11) A light colonnade / Courts for Horses and Elephants I referred to Twining before. (8) Hidden Rooms If we carefully examine the marble base which supports the main dome and minarets. Once again such a well is quite appropriate in a Hindu Temple or Palace. Therefore Shahjahan must have sealed them. but not in a mausoleum. but were opened after a short parley with the dewan or porter. size of rooms 9 ft by 9 ft. who even had the civility to accompany me through the interior courts to a large enclosed area what he said was there for elephants and horses of the Padshah suwarree (the Emperor and his suite)” " . He tells us. p 191 " The gates were shut. (10) Baoli Burj Some 80 ft south of the so called Mosque. The Burj is 50ft in diameter and there are 8 rooms on each floor. we realise that there are large number of rooms.
1893] (12) Gaushala There is a Gaushala (cow stable) within the Taj Mahal precincts.. If attacked by an enemy the defenders would pour hot water or oil through the holes on the enemy soldiers climbing up the wall.. “ . there is a platform 3 ft 6 inch wide extending the whole width of Taj Mahal. but inappropriate for a mausoleum. It has stone rings built in for anchoring boats. the celebrated Taje-Mahal.. They have defence mechanisms built in at the top. Hindus revere the Cow.” " . and from the centre of which rose the architectural glory of India. Courts for horses and Elephants are quite usual in Hindu Temples and Palaces. but are appropriate to defend a Palace. Both are appropriate only in a Hindu Temple or Palace. It is quite appropriate for a Hindu Temple or Palace. This gives a clue of when Taj Mahal was originally built. bounded on the opposite side by the Jumna to my right and left.” Twining returned after two days. at right angles to the river by a light colonnade. ” (p199) [Note : There is no purpose for building accommodation for elephants and horses inside a mausoleum. My Mahrattahs picketed their horses in the court of elephants till sunrise….] [Ref – Travels in India a hundred years ago. therefore Muslims hate the cows and take pleasure in killing cows to humiliate Hindus. I walked across the terrace to the left till I came to the colonnade. * There are also steps from this platform into the river.. Such walls are not needed in a mausoleum. (14) Battlemented Walls The perimeter walls on the East and West side of Taj Mahal are interesting. (13) Boating in river Yamuna (Jumna) On the river side.terrace. He says. which bounds it in that direction. 96 .
Bela leaves are used only for the worship of Lord Shiva.Battlemented perimeter wall The Taj and its Environments by Maulvi M Ahmad was published in 1924.. Jooi. Siraj-mukhi . Champa. Harsinghar. Maulsiri. This is the second edition of the book published in 1905 under the title . Mr Ahmad tells us:p 35 ". Keora. Seoti.etc. The Maulvi is so surprised by the names that he puts them in italics!! ] 97 (15) Trees and flowers . Ketki.[In the garden are trees of] Bela.” [Note : Leaves and flowers of these trees are used in the worship of Hindu deities. Motia.History of Taj.
(20) Temple bells On the entrance gateway to the central Edifice. it would show a moon crescent and river Ganga flowing out from his hair. then a moon crescent. We have normal Kalas (pinnacle). He tells us on page 575 – Agra Le taje …. (19) Pinnacle on the Main Dome We need to look at this carefully. one finds a flower bud. The difference is obvious. we see a line of temple bells covering the entire width. please compare it with that on the Regents Park Mosque. then a water pot with mango leaves in it and a coconut on top.(16) Rare Hindu Motifs In 1887 Les Civilisations de L’Inde by Le Bon (Gustave) was published. (17) Trident on arches In the marble stone lining above each arch. If you wish to compare it with a pinnacle on a Mosque. London. 98 . A similar scene is depicted on the pinnacle. Just imagine the picture of Lord Shiva. Rare Hindu motifs are seen. If we look closely we find a Trident in the petals. (18) Lotus petals on domes On top of every dome we find petals of inverted Lotus flower.
London Dome and Moon Crescent 99 .Main Dome Pinnacle (enlarged) Regent’s Park Mosque.
compose a most harmonious whole. The churning then proceeded. “it accommodated visitors of distinction. The name Jawab is a recent invention.. These are also seen on the entrance gateway to the Central Edifice. If it was not stemmed it would have destroyed the whole world. Col Hodgson said. Archaeological Survey of India discovered remains of old fountains below the existing ones. The poisonous Dhotra flowers in the decorations in marble wall linings indicate the worship of Lord Shiva. which is very much keeping with Hindu motifs (24) Dhotra flowers If we walk around the central edifice we notice the poisonous flowers of Dhotra in the decorations in marble lining. (22) Blazing Sun If we stand under any dome in Taj Mahal and look up to the ceiling. as well as six octagonal pavilions of four stories high. See Times of India of 25 June 1973. * In 1801. (26) So called Jawab The structure on the West of the Central Edifice has long been misused as a Mosque.(21) Cobras in pairs On the Main Gateway (where visitors come in) we can clearly see Cobras in pairs along the entire width. (23) Sunflowers On the walls of the so-called Mosque and so-called Jawab we see Sunflowers as decoration. Daniells simply said. In the Hindu mythology when Gods and Demons churned the ocean for superb gems. (25) Hidden fountains While carrying out some repairs to existing fountains in the centre of Taj Garden. Hence Lord Shiva drank all that poison (Halahal).” but they assign no name to it. but the one on the East still has no purpose. As usual. “The mosque and its counterpart the mehman khana. the ocean also produced poison. it was all kept hush-hush. * In 1843.” 100 . we see a blazing sun surrounded by a circle of tridents.
I was struck by the fact that the plan of Moti Masjid was not a rectangle. He produced three wonderful booklets in 1976. Why? It would be surprising that an ICS officer who worked for 30 years in India would make such a mistake. which is quite appropriate in a Hindu Temple or a Palace. p 98 " On the other side of the Taj stands the twin of the mosque.Were the Rang Mahal While preparing this booklet Prof Bhatnagar made a remarkable discovery. former Hindu temples? . in order to meet this condition. One of them was . its very presence there is something of an enigma. F G S. is styled a mihrab." Because it faced away from Mecca it was never used for prayer and. as a matter of fact. I went to the Red Fort in Delhi. if used by Muhammadans as an altar. I therefore wrote to many Mullahs and Maulavis and pointed out the error made by Muslims in facing West and 101 and Moti Masjid in Delhi Red Fort. He says : -pp 44/46 "..* In 1972 David Carroll says. unless he was simply trying to continue the Taj myth. ------Let us draw on the experience of Prof Bhatnagar. Delhi is 28 degrees 38 minutes North and Kaba is 21 degrees 25 minutes North. Muslims praying in the so called Mosque at Taj Mahal have been facing Bandar Abbas in Iran and NOT Mecca!! Also. (27) Orientation of so called Mosque In 1909. provided that walls facing it in prayer. a parallel structure sometimes referred to as the jawab. mihrabs in Indian masjids. because the perambulatory passage is abruptly cut off." As Mecca is West of India. but has no place in a Mausoleum. or a meeting hall where the faithful gathered before prayer? Aurangzeb calls it Jamait Khana . C E. Seventh edition of H G Keene's Handbook for visitors to Agra was rewritten and brought up to date by E A Duncan. I also realised that Kaba is not exactly West of Delhi. Was it a caravansary for pilgrims.. or "answer. are recessed into the East faces of their West walls." A recess in any wall. In 1961. it is approximately so..” But Mecca is NOT west of Agra.a guest house. there is not just one recess but three. We find : p 106 Footnote . they also face the Kaba or " Temple of Mecca. It is odd shaped.
. The reason was obvious. But as a Hindu temple was converted he had to put up with it. on pages 194/5. In his letter of 30 July 1961 he wrote that Mecca is 3 degrees 36 minutes south west of Delhi and Muslims should orient themselves accordingly. (29) No visit to Taj Mahal by Shahjahan Shahjahan was imprisoned in Agra Red Fort by his son Aurangzeb for seven years (1658-1665). the Imam of Fatehpuri Mosque of Delhi.And in this manner hee came to his garden of Darree ca baag. ” (28) Shajahan’s entry into Agra Mundy describes the arrival of Shahjahan at Agra from Burhanpur. Theis doe calculate such dayes and howers as are fortunate or unluckie. And yet during this period he never once requested permission to visit Taj Mahal.” [some knowledge of spherical geometry is required to understand this point fully. which is supposed to be tomb of his wife. (Moore [Muhammadan ] priests ). At last. hee was brought to his Castle of Agra about 2 miles from the Garden.. when praying.. no auspicious moment was needed. The Fort is only one mile away from Taj Mahal. It is impossible that a fanatical Muslim. CONCLUSION 102 . when praying. close shutt up in a Palanqueene. on 1 June 1632.” " The reason of his Comeing in att that hower is that the Kinge and great men have Wizards [ astrologers ] whoe are Comonly Bramanes [Brahmans] or Mullaes [mullahs].. He says. soe that they will not undertake any Journie. As there was no construction. or begin any enterprize of purport but on such a Tyme as shall be delivered them by the said Wizards. Mufti Majahar Ullah replied.. ". Aurangzeb would not have noticed this discrepancy. This is no surprise. where hee entered and remained there till the Tenth currant [June 1632] when about Midnight.] "...not Mecca. And yet there is no mention of any auspicious day and time for starting building of Taj Mahal.” Such was the importance of court astrologers! The Emperor could not enter his own capital because the time was not auspicious and had to wait till midnight to enter his palace. Shahjahan knew that his wife was not buried in Taj Mahal.
almost every structure supposed to have been raised by foreign Muslim invaders. Their own chronicles make no bones about it! They themselves do not claim to have built anything! It is their second or third generation progenies who make such claims for their forefathers. massacres. Muslim rulers brought nothing but terror. why historians are not prepared to accept the truth about Taj Mahal? Yes. gardens. Noblemen and others. torture. capabilities. dancing. misused. architecture. they ought not hesitate to admit such truth. they will soon have to start thinking afresh about several other structures and monuments such as the Red Fort. loot and destruction to India.Thus. Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur. craftsmanship. It does not take a genius to realise that all this is absurd and totally false. the Jama Masjid and Kutb Minar at Delhi. music. we have been repeatedly told nothing but a bunch of lies about Taj Mahal all these years. That is too much for them to bear. Successive invading Muslims brought to India. astronomy etc. stubbornness and natural reluctance to change. poetry. renamed and simply misrepresented as built by the captors. Once we logically and irrefutably conclude that buildings like Taj and other monuments were originally built by Hindu Kings. Generals. the Red Fort at Agra. fountains. painting. Is there any reason. Once they accept the fact that Taj Mahal was a Hindu building.200 years will have to be re-written. The matter does not end there. The entire history of India for the last 1. But why should Indian history need to be re-written? History of architecture goes hand in hand with history and culture of the people. grandeur and opulence of the people. prosperity. imagination. 103 . Historians would have us believe that India was a barren land. They will have no other way but to accept the fact that all such structures are of Hindu origin but captured. from what we have been led to believe. art. As true historians. but were vandalised by Muslim rulers. rape. apart from false pride. it becomes evident that history of both races – Hindu and Muslim is quite different in all respects. Architecture represents the resources. literature.
But the words ‘Muslim Era’ created a wrong impression. Other seven volumes were published over next ten years. In his preface. So what do the historians do? Like Government ministers trying to suppress and prevent leakages of scandals and misdeeds like Watergate (during the days of American President Nixon in 1970s) or the Katyn Forest Massacre (carried out by the Russians in Poland in the 1940s). the truth abut the Taj will make everyone wonder how various historians have turned a blind eye to the most glaring inconsistencies. By depicting that the ‘Indian Muslims’ were the rulers in India before the English they created a bloating in the minds of Indian Muslims leading to false pride and arrogance. The Muhammadan Period Volume I. Sir Henry M Elliot states that he is dealing with the history of only the Mohammedan rule in India. resulting ultimately in the partition of India in August 1947. was published in London in 1867 by Trubner and Co. forcible conversions and marriages. Hindu Era. The rulers and the ruling class were Foreign Muslims and they utterly despised Native Indian Muslims. they keep quiet. The blunders of Indian historical research are colossal indeed! Let us take another example During the British Raj. Muslim Era and British Era. He gives some examples of how in the 18th and 19th century. They did not call their rule as Christian Era. This impression is TOTALLY FALSE. hear no evil. discrepancies. Muslims and tragedy of India. Muslims had fabricated various chronicles. And like the three wise monkeys they pretend to “see no evil. anomalies and even absurdities for so long. It was full of murders and massacres. monstrous ambitions. For more details readers should refer to the Author’s work – British Historians. sensuality and drunkenness. British Historians divided Indian History into three parts namely. razing of temples. Moreover. speak no 104 . intransigency. Common people were plunged into the lowest depths of wretchedness and despondency.Elliot and Dowson's History of India as told by its own Historians. He also concludes that the true picture of Muslim rule was far from what was generally believed.
he visited the so-called Kutb Minar and started to realise that we are not being told the true history of medieval India. If by chance or by deliberate misrepresentation the chronicler gave an exaggerated or distorted account. " Many writers.” Pity! But then who would undertake the gigantic task of writing true Indian History? Mr P N Oak has been trying to expose blunders in Indian historical 105 . In course of time the mistake gets so embedded in the minds of people that they have but to believe the inaccurate account to be true. In 1961. In the preface to the second booklet he says. He had published three wonderful booklets before his untimely death . 1975 He asks some very straightforward questions and while answering them exposes the falsity of Indo-Islamic Architecture. ancient Hindu temples? (in Hindi). the mistake is carried on from generation to generation. Any attempt at correcting a mistake of long standing meets vehement opposition. Let us see what bitter experiences one of our friends had in 1975. he started to write a series called – Stones speak. After a great deal of research. M. Ghaziabad (India) from 1948 to 1966. All but scholarly persons fall in a line with the denouncers.Were the Rang Mahal and Moti Masjid in the Delhi Red Fort.Does the Red Fort belong to Shahjahan's time ? (1974) . communal or mad. seldom take pains of seeing them closely and drawing results from their personal observations. The opposition mounts to such a degree of resentment as to denounce a person or persons carrying on sincere research in the field to be biased. Prof Mahesh Swarup Bhatnagar was Head of the Department of Geography.evil” Not one Historian has openly challenged our research work. 1974 . while giving accounts of historical buildings. Generally they find it more convenient to adopt descriptions given by some old chronicler and repeat the same old tale in their own words caring little for the correctness of the story.M.H College.Dhruv Stambh alias Kutb Minar.
Haklayut Society. Other similar minded persons need to come together.research for the last 40 years. 10th edition translated from original French book and annotated by Dr V Ball. Adam. – Travels in India. 1675. * Pelsaert Fransicso . from Italian into English 1907 * Mundy. translated into English by J Philips. Edited by Lt Col Sir R C Temple. Peter – Travels in Europe and Asia.Remonsrante.Storio do Mogor. I (the author) have been doing the same for nearly 30 years. translated into English by Irving Brook. 1889 * Bernier F – Travels in the Mughal Empire.B. 1907-36. (1626) translated into English by Moreland W H and published as Jehangir's India in 1926 106 . J. Would you like to join us and help us? Please contact me. has established Institute for Oriental Studies for the same purpose in 1984. translated by W Irvine. ICS. London 1662 * Tavernier. India. Dr Bedekar of Thane. the author. BIBLIOGRAPHY (In date order) Contemporary European Travellers. * Olearius. 1826 * Manucci Nicoloi . The voyages and travels of J Albert Mandelslo.
pages 52-56. 1843. Narrative of a Journey Through the upper Province of India. [Note : This journal also contains a letter from Lt (later General) Cunningham to Col Sykes.Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.Memoir of the War in India by. Haklayut Society 1927 --------Later day European Travellers. Captain G C. Journal of a Tour in India. Bishop of Calcutta. * Daniells. 1859 * Twining Thomas – Travels in India a Hundred years ago. 1828. translated by Lt Col Luard and Father Hosten. Rambles and recollections of an Indian Official (1844) * Sleeman Lt Col W H * Captain Leopold von Orlich – Travels in India. * Mundy. 1845 * Fanny Parks Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque. Volume VII. Fray Sebastian. both edited by V Smith. 1813 * Reginald Heber. Memoir on the Length of Illahee Guz . 1893 --------Other authors 107 . Thomas and William – Views of the Taje Mahal at the city of Agra in Hindoosthan. a Director of the East India Company on pages 246-247] Editions 1893 and 1915. 1975) * Bayard Taylor – A Visit to India. 1801 * Major Thorn . China and Japan. 1832 * Major Archer – Tours in Upper India. Travels.* Manrique. 1833 * Hodgson Col J A . 1850 (Reprint by Oxford University Press.
Indian Archaeology (1957-58) page 83 (1958-59) page 95 and plate xcll A ( These two give details of the well foundations ) (1977-78) Taj Museum by Dr Z A Desai and H K Kaul. 124-125 Annual Report of N W Provinces Circle 1891. * Archaeological Survey of India Report for 1871-72. 1982. Section I . It contains copy of a painting of Taj Mahal by Captain R Elliot.Conservation. 1888 and 1909) Turks in India (1879) pp 119. Volume II pp 67. 128 and 137 * Growse F S 108 . 1902 Annual Report 1936-37. 1900. page 4. * Martin Robert Montgomery Indian Empire. *Keene Henry George Handbook to Agra (Editions 1874. Volume III (1862). United Provinces Ancient India (1946) Article on Repairs to Taj Mahal by Mr M S Vats.* Fergusson James Handbook of Architecture (1855) History of Architecture of all Countries (1867) History of Indian and Eastern Architecture (1876) 1910 edition was edited by J Burgess and R P Spiers.
* Oak Purushottam Nagesh.Historical and Descriptive etc (1896) pp 100.109 * Havell E B Agra and the Taj ( 1904 ) pp 73-74 * Ahmad Maulavi Moinuddin History of the Taj (1905) The Taj and its Environments (1924) * Smith Vincent A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon (1911) pp 412-19 * Batley Prof Claude. This report was published for private circulation only.105.Indian Architecture of Today (1885) pp 52-54 * Cunningham General Sir Alexander Mahabodhi (1829) page 79 * Latif Syad Muhammad Agra . Taj Mahal was a Rajput Palace (1965) The Taj Mahal is a Hindu Palace (1968) The Taj Mahal is a Temple Palace (1974) * Abu Imam Cunningham and Indian Archaeology (1966) * MARG magazine. Design Development of Indian Architecture (1934) page xii * Indian Waterproofing Company. Bombay 109 . Bombay Report on Repairs to Taj Mahal (1946).
a special issue June 1969. * Nath Prof Ram.A dream in Marble. The Immortal Taj Mahal (1972) pp 78-82 * Hansen Walderman Peacock Throne (1973) * Schulberg Lucille Historic India (1974) Photograph on page 151.Taj Mahal .Travellers' Accounts : Shahjahan returned to Agra on 12 June 1632. Travellers' accounts from this date till 1853 are available as follows : Traveller Year of visit to Taj Mahal 110 Year Publication of of . published from Hyderabad (India). * Kanwar Hari Inder Singh Subterranean Chambers of Taj Mahal. an article published in Islamic Culture July 1974 issue. Appendix A .
1811. employed by the English East India Co. But we have to remember that (1) Sir Thomas Herbert went to Persia in 1627 as Secretary to an 111 . Joannes and Chardin. England. 1889. 1925 1640-41 1927 1664 1907 1665 1826.travellers' account in English Contemporary Travellers Fransisco Pelsaert (A Senior Factor of the Dutch East India Company stationed at Agra ) Peter Mundy (A merchant from Cornwall.) J A de Mandelslo (A German traveller) Jean Baptise Travernier (A French jewel merchant) Sebastian Manrique (A Portuguese monk of the Augustinian Order) Niccoli Manucci (An Italian adventurer) Francois Bernier (A French Physician) 1620 – 27 1926 1631-33 1914 1638 1662 1640-41 1665 & 1677. Thevenot. 1891 1914 Note : References are made to Herbert.
(2) Thevenot the Frenchman travelled from Surat to Masulipattam and back and did not go to Agra. (4) Chardin's Travels in India was never published and his manuscript has not been found. After staying for two years in the East (in the course of which he paid a short visit to Surat but did not go to Agra. a Director of the Dutch East India Company did not even visit India. (3) De Laet Joannes. 1801 1794 1893 1803-1804 1811 1824 1828 1825 1843 112 . Traveller Year of visit to Taj Mahal Year of Publication of travellers' account in English Later-day travellers Thomas and William Daniell (English painters) Thomas Twining (First English Governor of Bihar 1800-1804) Major Thorn (English East India Co ) Bishop Heber (of Calcutta) Col Hodgson (English East India Co) 1789 1795.English Embassy which was sent there in that year.) he returned home.
Most of them have just repeated the legend. 113 .Major Archer (East India Co) Captain Mundy (English India Co) Godfry East 1828 1833 1828 1832 Fanny Parks (Wife of a British Customs Officer stationed at Prayag) Lt Col Sleeman (English East India Co) Captain Leopold Von Orlich (German Army Officer) Bayard Taylor (An American writer) 1835 1850 1836 1844 1842 1845 1853 1859 We have taken note of all that these persons have said.
Marseilles .Nander .Goa .Ispahan . met Shaista Khan .Bandar Abbas -Masulipatam (2 July 1652) .Gwalior Agra ..Paris .APPENDIX B: Voyages of Tavernier First voyage – Paris (1631) .Alexandretta – Aleppo (6 weeks) -Shiraz -Ispahan (May 1639 .Jahanabad (Delhi -September 1665) .Marseilles -Alexandretta .Surat (spring 1642) Bandar Abbas (beginning of 1643) .Bandar Abbas (April 1665) .Paris Fourth voyage .Surat [end of 1660 .started for Bengal with Bernier 114 .Surat [May 1659] Golconda .Surat . Third voyage .Sirnoj.Ispahan Surat (Jan 1645) .Bandar Abbas .Marseilles .Alexandretta -Aleppo (March 1644) .Alexandretta Malta .Surat .Burhanpur .Madras Gandikot (13 August 1652) met Mir Jumla.Golconda .Surat Ahmedabad.met Augangzeb purchased diamonds .Aleppo (7 Oct 1651) .Isphan .Agra (winter of 1640-41) .Batavia .Golconda -Raolconda Golconda .Marseilles .Surat .Paris (autumn 1655) Fifth voyage .Ispahan (end of 1647) Surat .Feb 1657 Paris .asked to stay to witness his annual festival .fete concluded 9 November -Agra .Dacca .Goa .Holland .Persia – Aleppo (Syria) .Vengurla .Golconda (1 April 1653) .Mingrela (Vengrula) in Jan 1648 .Ispahan .Italy.Dec 1639) .Paris (1633) Second voyage – Paris (Sept 1638) .beginning of 1661] Sixth voyage .Aurangabad .Daulatabad .Paris.Paris (November 1663).Surat [May 1665] .Paris .Golconda .
Allahabad -Benares -Patna -Rajmahal . He also pointed out where more explanations were necessary and where a reader was likely to be confused. She acted as a good listener. the contributions made by Hindu wives remain unknown.Surat (1 November 1666) . But he found time to read the manuscript thoroughly and meticulously and made many suggestions of improvement. He has always been a good listener. * My longstanding friend Pandit Ramakrishnayya of London is an extremely busy Hindu Priest. 115 .Dacca (12 Feb 1666) . A word of gratitude * We only see the tip of iceberg. I have been involved in historical research since 1977. He pointed out my mistakes and showed where corrections were required.Paris (6 December 1668). In a similar manner.Ispahan . My daughters Vaidehi and Varsha also always encouraged me. The author is deeply grateful to all above. I discussed with him many changes to improve clarity of thought and expressions. My wife Mrs Vinita supported me throughout. 90% of which remains hidden.Patna Agra (August) .
.S College (now Garware College) and the College of Engineering in Pune. After living in England for more than three decades. Godbole has been involved in historical research after he became convinced that Taj Mahal was NOT built by Shahjahan. He is now retired.. In 1978 he read Prof P N Oak’s book on Taj Mahal and became curious about the truth behind that monument.. He was educated at Bhave School. He became deeply engrossed in historical research. M. SOME OPINIONS (On the first edition) ". After working for Mumbai City Corporation he came to England in 1966 and has lived there ever since. It seems to me that your research data is completely supportive of your contentions and I am delighted and grateful to be enlightened. Muslims and tragedy of India. His main concern is how the history of Hindus has been twisted and falsified by our enemies. He worked for Civil Engineering contractors for 20 years and for London Underground Railway for 20 years. His works are as follows :Taj Mahal : Simple Analysis of a Great Deception Why Rewrite Indian History? God Save India (Punjab Politics of the 1980s) Taj Mahal and the Great British Conspiracy Around London in ten hours (A special tour of places in London. India in 1941. He graduated as a Civil Engineer from Pune University in 1962. Since 1987 he has been conducting a Special Tour of London visiting places associated with Indian freedom fighters. Buckminster Fuller 116 ..About the author Dr V S Godbole Dr Vasudev Shankar GODBOLE was born in Pune. Godbole has had first hand experience of the deep-rooted anti-Hindu and ProMuslim attitude of the English. Dr Godbole is also a qualified Teacher of Mathematics and a Researcher in History." Prof. associated with Indian Freedom fighters) Rationalism of Veer Savarkar (in English and Marathi) British Historians..E..
.. I will bear your offer (of conducted tour of Taj Mahal) in mind...A.Philadelphia University...... 'The Sunday Times'..' 117 .. . London.. (April 1982) ". If I have another opportunity to write on this subject." Brian Jackman Environment Correspondent.." S.... E. U...." Sue Woodford Channel Four TV Company. I think you have an interesting idea but I cannot think of any other unit in the BBC that handles material of this kind. I have read the papers with much interest and find your analysis very penetrating..... ". London." Anthony Isaacs Executive Producer. Personally I found it extremely interesting but it was not suitable material for this unit.. I was very interested to read your analysis of the origins of Taj Mahal.I am most grateful to you for bringing these papers to my notice and I am circulating them among colleagues here..V. I was very much interested in your material on Taj Mahal.Hodgson Director Festival of India London... Travel & Exploration Unit BBC T. Thank you for your most interesting article which I have sent on to the Aga Khan Foundation for comment. ". I find the whole subject fascinating and if we find anyone interested in making a documentary on the subject..S. we shall certainly get back in touch with you...... I wish I could have been more helpful... "..
" Robin Dannthorn Regional Editor... "... 118 . Fodors Modern Guides. Bangkok. We are greatly indebted to you and I will certainly have your observations right beside me when we next revise the relevant chapters.Sir Hugh Casson President. I was fully fascinated by your most scholarly study of the Taj Mahal and the so called Indo-Saracenic School of Architecture.. Royal Academy of Arts London..
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